Cupid's Span

The Embarcadero & Folsom Street San Francisco

VAMONDE San Francisco
Written By VAMONDE San Francisco

Cupid's Span

Who doesn't love love? In 2002, married artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen built the Cupid's Span installation to honor romance. Located in Rincon Park along the Embracdero, the piece shows partial images of a bow and arrow lodged in the ground. The 60-foot sculpture is made of fiberglass and steel, making it a sturdy and long-standing piece of construction.

The Meaning

For Cupid's Span, it's essential to know why the work of art was created. Because San Fransisco is known as the home port of Eros, Oldenburg and Bruggen saw fit to create a monument honoring this space of love and creativity. The meaning relates to Cupid, the mythological god of desire, attraction, and affection. His counterpart is Eros, signifying that Cupid's Span unites all aspects of the myth into one giant artwork. There is also a mythological account of Eros shooting an arrow into the Earth to bring fertility. All in all, Cupid's Span is a mythological reimagining of ancient ideas and principals.

The Inspiration

Oldenberg and Bruggen also chose to make this piece because of its similarity to the Golden Gate Bridge. While the meaning behind the work of art is more transcendental, the physical component is meant to emulate and pay tribute to the city's famous bridge. Both works of steel and both suspended in their own way, Cupid's Span and the Golden Gate Bridge represent the golden ideals of the city and how those can manifest when people come together to create something amazing.

Cover image by May Wong is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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