Putti with grapes, mezzotint, circa 1700.

The putto (plural putti) is a figure of a human baby, almost always male, often naked and having wings, found especially in Italian Renaissance art. The figure derives from Ancient art but was rediscovered in the early Quattrocento.

Putti are found in pagan, secular and in Christian iconography. In the latter, are considered a type of angel and are often called "cherubs" in English language. This somewhat of a misnomer, as the biblical word "Cherub" refers to angels with four faces, four conjoined wings covered with eyes, and ox's feet. Only in the plural form, the words are distinct as putti-style angels are called cherubs whereas biblical-style Cherubs use the plural Cherubim.

Putti are found amass in European churches and secular buildings, in frescoes, paintings and sculpture. They are visible proof that nudity is different from obscenity, and even frontal child nudity is acceptable in such depictions, and most certainly does not constitute child pornography. In Christian contexts, putti themselves represent the very idea of innocence, including sexual innocence. In secular contexts, putti are not always so asexual and innocent. The Ancient God of Love, Eros (Amor, Cupid) is often depicted as a winged boy in the way of a putto, and his comrades, the Erotes, share this image.

Putti with and without wingsEdit

Putti usually have wings, but not always. Wingless putti tend to be found in pagan, rather than Christian, contexts, but there is no strict rule. Below are examples of putti without wings.

See alsoEdit

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