Friday, February 1, 2013

The Virgin Queen (Virginia) - Elizabeth I + Cherubs or Putti ?


A putto (pl. putti) is a figure of a human toddler, usually male, often naked with wings, depicted especially in Italian Renaissance & Baroque art. The Latin word "putus" means boy or child. During the early modern period, artist Donatello revived & popularized putti figures in Florence during the 1420s.

Neroccio De' Landi (1447-1500) Two Putti, 1490-1510

In the European culture of the 1400s & 1500s, Cherubs & Putti had distinctly different roles. Biblically, Cherubs & Seraphs (Cherubim & Seraphim) were sacred angels in heaven closest to God. Putti, arose from Greco-Roman classical myths, not the Christian tradition, and were associated with Eros or Cupid as well as with the Muse Erato of lyric & love poetry.

Raphael Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (1483–1520), Sistine Cherubs

These nuances became blurred in English; and by 1610, poor old Queen Elizabeth was portrayed in an allegorical painting with 2 putti lifting the heavy weight of the crown of England from her tired body as sleepy, ancient Father Time waited on her right & gruesome, eager Death hovered on her left.

An Allegorical Painting of 1610 Queen Elizabeth I (1538-1603) in Old Age, c.1610 at Corsham Court, Wiltshire

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