Detail - Raphael Sistine Madonna
Putti (detail from Raphael's Sistine Madonna). Scan © Mark Harden, used with permission


(plural noun) - Putti are those plump little naked boys with wings that one often sees in Renaissance, Mannerist, Baroque and Rococo art. Typically, a putto (the singular form) depicts an angel or cherub in a religious scene, but he may also come in the form of Cupid. In either case, a putto's presence symbolizes love, whether Divine or of a more earthly nature. Incidentally, you never run across ugly putti in art; they're so cute you could just pinch them.

Pronunciation: poo·tee

Also Known As: amorini; amoretti

Common Misspellings: putty, puti

Examples: "The body of the bed was like a great square sarcophagus. Clustering roses were carved in high relief on its wooden panels, and luscious putti wallowed among the roses." - Aldous Huxley, Chrome Yellow