One Putto, two Putti

Somehow it seems inappropriate to refer to the little winged boys in paintings of Christian saints as “cupids.”

Cupid was the Roman god of love, the son of Venus and Mars. Latin cupido means “desire.”

Another word that can be used to describe these little painted “cupids” is putti.

Putti [put-ee] is Italian for “small boys.” The singular, from Latin putus, “boy, child,” is putto (put-o].

Madonna and Child with Putti (c. 1517). Rosso Fiorentino, The Hermitage, St. Petersburg.

"Madonna and Child with Putti" (c. 1517). Rosso Fiorentino, The Hermitage, St. Petersburg.

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