22 December 2008

tears of the cherubs

York Minister Cathedral / York, England
These chubby little fellows (almost always male) are Cherubs - as opposed to their counterparts in love and erotica (think Valentines Day) who are more accurately referred to as Putti. Didn't know there was a difference? Well neither did I. Cherubs are angels, occupying the highest angelic orders in Heaven and are supposedly the closest to God. On the other hand, Putti arise from Greco-Roman classical mythology and are more associated with Eros as well as with the muse, Erato; the muse of lyric and love poetry. So how do you tell the difference? As they are virtually identical in appearance, it's best to rely upon the theme of the painting or sculpture. If religious in nature – they are Cherubs; if mythical – they are Putti. And not Putta .. which has a very different meaning!

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