Eros Bendato Sculpture | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Eros Bendato Sculpture

Krakow, Poland

Lily Johnson

10 May 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Eros Bendato Sculpture

Situated in Krakow’s Main Square, Eros Bendato is a vast sculpture imbued with meaning. Now beloved by tourists and locals alike, it makes for a contemplative look at post-modern artwork amongst the historic Old Town – or an iconic photo opportunity!

Eros Bendato Sculpture history 

Eros Bendato is the work of Igor Mitoraj, one of Poland’s most renowned sculptors, whose work on the human body is featured in most major cities of the world. Mitoraj studied at the Kraków School of Art under eminent painter Tadeusz Kantor in 1963, returning years later in 2003 to display a huge collection of his work, including Eros Bendato, in the Main Square. 

The sculpture was gifted to Krakow, where its placement caused some controversy. Originally meant for placement outside of Galeria Krakowska, Mitoraj insisted his work did not belong outside of a commercial building and, despite protest from historians and locals, it was instead placed in the historic Main Square. 

Much of his work centres on fragmented and tortured forms of the human body, mixing the classical sculpture of the ancient world with post-modern ideas of pain. His work often aims to address the beauty and fragility of the human body, exploring degeneration and decay in the process.

Eros Bendato Sculpture today 

Today Eros Bendato – often affectionately referred to as ‘The Head’ – still sits in Krakow’s Main Square, and had become a well-loved tourist spot. Visitors come to admire Mitoraj’s intriguing work depicting Eros, the Greek god of love and desire, with his head laid horizontally to the ground. 

Bandages cover his face, explaining the sculpture’s English translation ‘Eros Bound’, and symbolising the god’s imprisoned desires. Many have also suggested that the toppled figure represents the fall of civilisations and the corruption of man, a theme not unknown in Krakow’s long history of power exchange and usurpation.

While the sculpture’s meaning may be subtle, it provides an eery, eyeless backdrop for a photograph amongst the historic town centre, and is a reminder of modern art’s ability to combine the traditional with the strikingly new. 

Getting to Eros Bendato Sculpture

Eros Bendato is located in Krakow’s Main Square, just west of the Cloth Hall. It is a 10-minute walk from Wawel Castle and a 20-minute walk from the train station. The nearest bus and tram stop is Teatr Bagatela, a 5-minute walk away.