Stupid Cupid in the Museum: 13 Times the Valentine’s Day Mascot Was the Worst

Watson Adventures Cupid Valentines DayThey say love makes you do crazy things. In the case of Valentine’s Day, that tends to lean toward throwing away absurd amounts of money on flowers and table-for-two dinners. (Not to mention a couple million drug-store teddy bears, because nothing says love like a generic stuffed animal snatched off a shelf at Duane Reade.)

Nothing’s crazier, though, than the holiday’s mascot: Cupid, a naked, flying baby whose whole shtick is literally shooting people with arrows. He’s a maniac! A menace! He is also, to our unending amazement, a star of the fine art world. Cupid has starred in—or snuck into—countless paintings and sculptures over the centuries. And far from the innocent cherub of kids’ valentines, he has a nasty habit of being a creep, a weirdo, and even a plain old jerk.

 

1. That time he attacked a god

Watson Adventures Cupid Valentine's Day

‘Cupid and Pan,’ Federico Zuccaro

Part of a larger scene of chaos, this is one of the more famous instances of Cupid being a little jerk. That’s Pan, god of the wilderness and springtime and, um, theatrical criticism, whose ear Cupid’s tugging on. Who tugs on an ear? That’s the most annoying way to be annoying. So much for spreading love and happiness, Cupid.

 

2. That time he stole a beehive and was shocked to be stung by bees 

Watson Adventures Cupid Valentine's Day

‘Venus with Cupid the Honey Thief,’ Cranach the Elder

Hey, stupid! If you just grab a beehive with you bare hands and walk around with it, you’re going to get stung by bees! Don’t go crying to mom about it—especially because she very clearly does not give a crap. 

 

3. That time he kept whining about bees

Watson Adventures Cupid Valentine's Day

‘Cupid, Stung by a Bee, Is Cherished by his Mother,’ Benjamin West

Oh my god, dude, stop. Stop with the honey-stealing. You’re like Winnie the Pooh, but way less cute and somehow even nakeder. Also, mom, stop “cherishing” him for being a dumb little brat.

 

4. That time he remained a needy little pissant

Watson Adventures Cupid Valentine's Day

‘Venus and Cupid,’ Battista Dossi

It’s all “boob’s out, groove’s out” for Venus, but Cupid doesn’t know when to butt out. What is he even asking for here? Does widdle baby Kewpie need mommy to load his bow fow him?

 

5. That time he peed on his mom

Watson Adventures Cupid Valentine's Day

‘Cupid and Venus,’ Lorenzo Lotto

No! Just stop. No wonder Cupid wears a diaper.

To viewers at the time, this would have been amusing—peeing through a wreath was a symbol of bringing fertility. To viewers now, this tells us that Cupid is gross and that viewers at the time must have been starved for entertainment if this is what passed for a laugh.

 

6. That time teenage him casually stabbed a lady

Watson Adventures Cupid Valentine's Day

‘Cupid Wounding Psyche,’ Francois Boucher

Just having a nice naked cloud picnic and then surprise! You’re stabbed! Who does stuff like that? Oh, right: Cupid does stuff like that.

 

7. That time teenage him was a smarmy jagweed

Watson Adventures Cupid Valentine's Day

‘Cupid and Psyche,’ Jacques-Louis David

We didn’t think it possible, but teenage Cupid is even more unbearable than baby Cupid. One look at that expression and we wanna smack that smug face right off the painting. Also, Cupid stabbed Psyche, like, one painting ago. She can do better.

 

8. That time he did whatever this is

Watson Adventures Cupid Valentine's Day

‘Cupid’s Tower,’ unknown artist

As if assaulting gods and urinating on his mom weren’t bad enough, now Cupid’s committing hair crimes. What are all those extra flaps? Is he basically a hood ornament here? Oh well, at least he’s a baby again.

 

9. That time he actually wasn’t so bad because Wheel of Fortune is great

Watson Adventures Cupid Valentine's Day

‘Cupid with the Wheel of Fortune,’ Titian

Wait, this isn’t the show we like. Cupid, you ruin everything! You probably stole that wheel from a medieval ambulance or something. And killed that horse while you were at it.

 

10. That time he was a pirate

Watson Adventures Cupid Valentine's Day

‘Cupid in Disguise,’ Chelsea Manufactory

Cupid, you look ridiculous. Wait…oh. Oh, no. Did you gouge out an eye…and cut off half a leg? That’s…oh wow, we’re gonna have nightmares. Pirate Cupid nightmares.

 

11. That time he got chained to a rock

Watson Adventures Cupid Valentine's Day

‘Love Prisoner to Wisdom,’ Horatio Greenough

Good! Lock him up! Cupid is a menace to society, and the only one with the good sense to do anything about it…is an owl. 

 

12. That time he got whupped

Watson Adventures Cupid Valentine's Day

‘Venus Chastising Cupid,’ Jan van Bijlert

Whatever the little creep did, he deserves it.

 

13. That time teenage him got whupped

Watson Adventures Cupid Valentine's Day

‘Cupid Chastised,’ Bartolomeo Manfredi

Whatever the less little creep did, he deserves it. (If we had to guess, looks like he blindfolded himself and started shooting arrows at random. Who does stuff like—oh, right. Cupid.)

 

What’s More Fun than Whipping Cupid?

A Watson Adventures scavenger hunt! Join a public scavenger hunt in one of seven citiesaround the country. To ask us about arranging a fun private scavenger hunt or team building corporate scavenger huntcontact us online or at 877-946-4868, extension 11.