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The putto (known in plural as putti) is a figure in a work of art depicted as a chubby male child, usually naked and sometimes winged. Coming from the Italian word for the Latin word putus, or "boy" or "child", the putto was originally characterized as being metaphorical agents of fate, affecting human events invisible to those under their influence.

With artistic masters bringing back Greek and Roman imagery in The Renaissance, the putti would find a revival in paintings and sculptures, Christianity adopting the winged putto as a cherub, a type of angel of Abrahamic religions, and non-winged examples associated with the Baby Jesus.

More often than not, the winged putti are portrayed as a Cherubic Choir, flying en masse so that they could sing and play and be cute. Long after the Renaissance, modern pop culture often likes to portray the Roman god of love and desire Cupid as a winged putto, doing away with his association with sexuality in favor of a more chaste, innocent form of love. Because of this putti can sometimes be seen wielding a Sacred Bow shooting Cupid's Arrow.

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For an Evil Counterpart for the putto, see Enfant Terrible and Fallen Cupid. See also Babies Make Everything Better.

Not to be confused with Filipino rice cakes or the Spanish word for a male prostitute.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • "Cupid's Kiss" from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is an equip spell-card used by Blair Flannigan in her duel against Jaden in Episode 20. The card is equipped onto "Maiden of Love", protecting the monster from being destroyed but still allows battle damage. The effect of this card then activates, allowing Blair to take control of "Avian". Later "Maiden in Love" attacks "Elemental HERO Sparkman". Due to the effect of "Maiden in Love", it is not destroyed, but Blair still takes Battle Damage. The effect of this card then activates, allowing Blair to take control of "Sparkman". The card itself is just an illustration of a blond-haired winged-cherub wearing white gauze for pants and wielding a bow with a heart-shaped arrow.

    Art 
  • The Alexandre Cabanel painting The Birth of Venus (not to be confused with the more famous Botticelli painting of the same name) depicts Venus in a reclining position on the ocean waves as cherubs hover above her, playing music above her with conch-shells.
  • William-Adolphe Bouguereau's The Birth of Venus (again, not the Botticelli one), depicts Venus in the shallow waters standing contrapposto accompanied by centaurs, nymphs and various winged putti. Two putti (said to be Cupid and Psyche) are seen messing with a porpoise, while the rest are seen flying amongst the clouds in the background.
  • Cupid and Psyche as Children by William-Adolphe Bouguereau is an 1890 oil painting that depicts Cupid and Psyche of Classical Mythology as a pair of infants together in the clouds, Cupid with white angel wings and Psyche with moth wings.
  • Drinking Bacchus by Guido Reni is a Baroque oil painting depicting the Roman god Bacchus as a putti wearing nothing but a crown of grapes and as he drinks wine from a bottle while urinating.
  • The Prophet Isaiah is a fresco located in Basilica di Sant'Agostino, an early Renaissance church in Rome. It is an Italian Renaissance painting, influenced by Michelangelo's work on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. The painting depicts the titular prophet with a pair of nude boys flanking him, holding up a rope of green leaves over him.
  • In The Temptation of St. Anthony, a pair of winged cherubs are present in the upper lefthand corner of the piece, but their upper halves (including their wings) are skeletal in appearance, each of them carrying withered flowers with them.
  • In the Raphael fresco painting Triumph of Galatea, winged cherubs are found flying above Galatea, bows drawn and arrows pointing right at her.
  • In Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time, a putto is seen with a handful of petals he intends to throw onto Venus and Cupid is said to be the personification of Folly.
  • Rococo painter Francois Boucher was famous for his putti paintings. Some of them depict them all by themselves like in L'Amour moissonneur and Putti with Birds, while in other cases they are ornamentation used to accompany other figures like Rinaldo and Armida and The Toilet of Venus.
  • Various artistic depictions of Charity (allegorically depicted as a modestly dressed mother breastfeeding in reference to the Virgin Mary) depict her being crowded by many naked (and implicitly impoverished) toddlers, each taking turns being fed by her. The point of the image implies that these children (or at least not all of them) are not hers, selflessly giving her time, energy and body for the good of others.
  • Venus and Cupid by Artemisia Gentileschi portrays Cupid as a winged cherub fanning the sleeping Venus with a peacock-feather fan.
  • In Venus and Cupid by Lorenzo Lotto, Cupid is depicted as a mischievous winged cherub accompanying Venus.
  • There are a grand total of nine winged cherubs accompanying the woman in The Return of Spring.
  • The Rape of Proserpina: A pair of putti are goading Pluto's horses to help Pluto escape with Proserpina.
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    Films — Animation 
  • In the "Pastoral Symphony" segment of Fantasia, putti serve as matchmakers for the centaurettes.
  • Beauty and the Beast: The ceiling of the ballroom in the Beast's castle is decorated with winged putti, one of them holding a Cupid's Arrow.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Larry and Amelia encounter a trio of stone cherubs (voiced by The Jonas Brothers) brought to life by the Tablet of Ahkmenrah. They do nothing but sing love songs in their direction, their role as love gods trying to encourage their budding relationship. Larry is unable to appreciate the music on account of the fact that at the time, they are trying to hide from a group of French soldiers out to get them. They later reappear after their First Kiss, continuing to serenade "My Heart Will Go On" to them much to Larry's annoyance.

    Live-Action TV 

    Western Animation 
  • In Hercules: The Animated Series, the love god Cupid is portrayed as something of a Manchild in a diaper and wings, while his cherubs looks more like the traditional idea of the putti. They act as his helpers not unlike Santa Claus and his elves, helping manufacture love arrows and distributing them all across Greece (and presumably Rome and some parts of Persia). They are all portrayed the same; blond-haired, high-voiced, dedicated to love and is accompanied by pigeon coo-noises.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Aquamarines are a gem-type who are aesthetically similar to the idea of cherubs. They are about the size of a human toddler (though all gems are born as adults) and are characterized by having small fairy-wings made of water which gives them flight capabilities. The exact details of their intended purpose are never given, though the Aquamarine introduced in "Are You My Dad?" implies that they all have good memory and are aristocratic members of Homeworld's caste system and considered retrieving humans from Earth for the Human Zoo to be beneath her. More Aquamarines are seen in "Together Alone" pulling up the curtains for the Diamond's formal introductions, evoking imagery of putti accompanying goddesses (which gems see the Diamonds as). Ironically, the one Aquamarine that's been important to the plot is cruel and narcissistic.
    • Vidalia's painted depiction of Garnet and Steven from "Pool Hopping" portrays both of them floating in pink clouds, Steven himself portrayed as a nude winged cherub throwing rose petals on Garnet. Considering Steven is a Messianic Archetype who acts as a positive influence on everyone around him, this is likely deliberate symbolism by the animators.


 
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Singing Cupids

Larry and Amelia are harassed by a trio of cherubs, originally fountain statues that were brought to life by the Tablet of Ahkmenrah.

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