Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A representation of a small child, often naked and having wings, used especially in the art of the European Renaissance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A representation, in a work of art (especially Renaissance or Baroque), of a small, naked, winged child; a cherub.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. See puttoo.

Etymologies

Italian, boy, from Vulgar Latin *puttus, from Latin putus.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Italian putto, from Latin pūtus. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • They in turn are flanked, as on the altar of St. Benedict, by two holy bishops, Saints Denis (the putto is holding his head) and Augustine (holding aloft his burning heart).

    Neuzelle Abbey

  • Measuring 2.90 by 3.77 metres, the drawing includes studies of a female figure with children, a seated male figure and a podgy winged baby, or 'putto', as well as various sketches of arms and a right hand.

    Michelangelo sketches of Sistine Chapel to be displayed in Italy

  • This crazy group, consisting of leaping bull supported by leaping dolphins, the seated nude, and a confidential putto, somehow manages to convey the conflicting impressions of high speed and pertness.

    The Flight of Europa

  • The organ from "Saint-Roch, Paris IV" 2009 is shown in a 60-by-50-inch print that does justice to its grandeur, the steel pipes, the gilded putto with a viol, the bas-relief angel playing a bagpipe on one side of the supporting balcony and the angel with a keyboard on the other side, and the ornate clock keeping time high on top of it all.

    Where Man Has His Place

  • On reflection, I would like to add that my point was pointed to the need to first designate blight, accrue the property, and then see what purpose the assembled plot could be putto.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Is the Debate Over Eminent Domain “Empty and Incoherent”?

  • At lower left, one putto sits wedged between a sheaf of wheat that rests upon a pile of game, and grape vines surmounted by a cluster of hanging fowl.

    Alexis Soyer and the Rise of the Celebrity Chef

  • These angles are likewise echoed and emphasized by those of the wheat sheaf and books below, as by the decanter and pot lid above, with the uppermost putto similarly coiffed but facing the opposite way, at once a visual counterpoint in the composition and mirror image of the mature chef he emulates.

    Alexis Soyer and the Rise of the Celebrity Chef

  • Above, three more putti display finished products, in divergent realms of gastronomic endeavor: wine and spirit-making, as the figure at left hoists a massive, crystal decanter; pastry-making, as the one at right holds up a decorative, circular confection upon a platter; and cooking, as the central putto lifts the lid from a steaming cauldron set upon a lively fire, an archetypal pot au feu.

    Alexis Soyer and the Rise of the Celebrity Chef

  • Beside her, a putto sits on a stone-cut wheel, his back to an unidentifiable stone monument, from which hangs a balance, an hourglass, and a bell.

    The Art Thief

  • When he speaks of himself in the same passage in the “Life of Salviati” as the “putto, che allora non aveva piu di nove anni,” he is making a mistake of at least three years in his own age.

    Giorgione

Comments

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  • (n): a figure of an infant boy especially in European art of the Renaissance —usually used in plural, in art used in a fashion similar to cherubs

    January 22, 2008