Cupid is usually depicted as a naked winged boy holding a bow and arrows.
In Roman mythology Cupid is the son of Mercury and Venus. His name comes from the Latin cupido meaning ‘desire.’
An episode of The Golden Ass, a story told by the Latin satirist, Apuleius recalls the story of Cupid And Psyche. Psyche meaning ‘breath’ or ‘soul’ is often depicted as a butterfly.
According to the myth, Psyche was a beautiful maiden loved by Cupid. He visited her every night but left before sunrise. He made Psyche promise she would not try to find out who he was.
Curiosity got the better of Psyche and one night she lit a lamp to try to catch a glimpse of his face. A drop of hot oil fell on his shoulder, awakened him and he fled.
Psyche wandered far and wide in search of her lover only to find herself the slave of Venus. She was treated most cruelly by the goddess.
Ultimately she was reunited with Cupid and became immortal.
The Greek equivalent EROS, meaning ‘sexual desire’ is similarly depicted as a winged baby, although he was originally imagined to be an athletic youth.