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Meaning of the Putto Angel

The cherubs are sweet, well fed, they look happy and you just have to like them. Children's angels serve as postcard motifs, they smile on shiny paintings sprinkled with glittering dust and can be admired in museums on baroque paintings. But what does the term "cherub" mean, where does the tradition of depicting angels in the form of children come from and what distinguishes cherubs from classical angels?

Representations of Putti from antiquity to the present day

The term "putto" means "Knäblein" and can be traced back to the Italian word "putto", whose origin is found in the Latin word "putillus". The cherubs are usually depicted naked or almost undressed and are characterized by their childlike shape and well-fed bodies. Some cherubs carry pairs of wings, others do not. In many churches with baroque coverings you can find figures of cherubs as decorative elements of various shapes. They are carved in stone or depicted in pictures. However, the origin of putti clearly predates the baroque and rococo period.

The Putti have been known since ancient times, where the figures of the boys represented the gods of love. Archaeological findings suggest that the depictions of putti were widespread in both Greek and Roman antiquity. In Christian art cherubs are very common as angels making music - see also our Putti wooden angels. The chubby figures play the flute, trumpet or other instrument and, as a group, represent an entire orchestra. At the latest since the 15th century, the depiction of angels as children has enjoyed great popularity in the Christian cultural area.

Putto Playing the Recorderfrom 50 €
Putto Playing the Violinfrom 50 €
Putto Playing the Lyrefrom 50 €
Putto Playing the Trombonefrom 50 €

The Sistina's Angels are part of the Sistine Madonna of Raphael and are considered the most famous cherubs ever. Today the chubby angels are decorated on chocolate paper, postcards and even fashion items. Here you can already see that the cherubs usually have a decorative function. In the baroque and rococo period, cherubs were used as allegorical representations of the god of love, Cupid.

What distinguishes putti and angels?

In Christian understanding, angels are apparitions sent by God to bring a message to people. In the Middle Ages, angelology developed, an independent scientific discipline dealing exclusively with angels. The best-known angel that can be read about in the Bible comes from the story of Christmas, and that is why modern man meets the angels figures mainly as Christmas decorations or popular Christmas motifs.

Angels are also revered as guardian angels and mentioned in numerous songs. Small children are called angels, even people who help others are considered angels. Putti do not have their roots in Christian culture and are considered less as religious figures. Rather, they embody a nice youth and lightness that are considered a welcome distraction in a reality perceived as complex. Carved cherubs or figures of cherubs in plaster evoke a smile on the face of the observer and bring positive energy into the room.

The program for children

The fascination that the cherubs exert on the observer can be easily explained if one understands that the figures of the cherubs possess everything that distinguishes the childish scheme. Putti have a playful and carefree appearance. They have "baby fat", sweet and immaculate faces and possess a sexless beauty.

Just as children who play delight adults, so do carved cherubs make the eyes of the beholder shine. Putti remind us that life can be easy too. They represent a bond between the adult human being and his childish self, who once discovered the world full of joy and carefree. Thus, a putto can bring a piece of lightness into the living room, which will surely benefit every adult from time to time.

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