P is for Putto

It’s a mystery to me how I have lived so long without knowing this word.  I also don’t know why I have neglected my Alphabet Soup category since the 23rd of October.  Mine is a life filled with wonder and confusion and maybe I’ll get into all that later, but for now, here’s a picture of a putto, (plural putti) (also known as an amoretto or an amorino when it depicts cupid);  a representation in baroque painting or sculpture of a small chubby naked boy with wings.

Sleeping Putto, by Léon Bazille Perrault, 1882

Sleeping Putto, by Léon Bazille Perrault, 1882 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That would be Cupid, right?  Looks like cupid to me.  Or a cherub.  Apparently it’s common to get these things mixed up, and that’s why there’s Wikipedia to help straighten everything out for us:

Art historian Juan Carlos Martinez writes:

Originally, Cherubs and Putti had distinctly different roles, with the former being sacred, and the latter, profane. That is, Cherubs and Seraphs (Cherubim, Seraphim) are Angels, occupying the highest angelic orders in Heaven and are thus the closest to God. On the other hand, Putti, arise from Greco-Roman classical mythos (i.e., non-Christian). They are associated with Eros/Cupid as well as with the Muse, Erato; the muse of lyric and love poetry…
….By the time the Baroque Era came about, which might arguably have been the high point for Cherubim and Putti, both of these little beings were usually being depicted in the same way. Which one they were, simply depended upon the theme of the painting or sculpture: If religious (sacred) – they were Cherubs. If secular or mythic (profane) – they were Putti.

Wenceslas Hollar - Jesus, John, and four cheru...

I suppose it depends on the artist whether these putto/cherub illustrations turn out to be beautiful or butt ugly.  I think if I tried to paint one it might end up in that second category.
Anyway, enough putti pondering for this Grey Cup Sunday.  I guess since I’m in the West I should be cheering for the West.  Even though that means rooting for Calgary, which is probably against some obscure Edmonton bylaw from the baroque period of our shared city histories.  If they all dressed like cherubs I’d watch the whole thing.  But my becoming a football fan is probably not sufficient motivation for the players, especially in November.  That could get butt ugly fast.
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2 thoughts on “P is for Putto

  1. Pingback: Cherubim « Earthpages.ca

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