Putti in Art: From the Renaissance to the 18th Century
Putti are chubby, sometimes winged, and often naked childlike figures that were derived from Greco-Roman depictions of Eros. Putti were common motifs in art from the Renaissance through the 18th century. There are many artworks featuring putti in The Metropolitan Museum, which provide a glimpse into how these figures were represented in different periods of history.
The Last Judgment
This majestic scene is divided into heavenly and earthly zones, which are linked by two hovering angels blowing trumpets.
Christ appears at the moment of judgment in a burst of light and color, surrounded by clouds and putti and flanked by the apostles
He blesses the saved, shown at lower left, while Saint Michael shepherds the damned into hell burning in the distance at the right.
Bacchanal: A Faun Teased by Children
Gian Lorenzo Bernini was the heroic central figure in Italian Baroque sculpture.
The influence of his father, the Florentine-born Pietro, can be seen here in the buoyant forms and cottony texture of the Bacchanal.
The liveliness and strongly accented diagonals, however, are the distinctive contribution of the young Gian Lorenzo.
Although about eighteen when he made this work, he already displayed what would become a lifelong interest in the rendering of emotional and spiritual exaltation.
Pair of candlesticks
In 1728, a design for a candlestick by Juste-Aurele Meissonnier (1695-1750) incorporated a pair of entwined children in its spirally twisted stem.
The three drawings for this model were engraved by Louis Desplaces (1682-1739) and published in Deuxième livre de l'oeuvre de J.
A Meissonnier, Chandeliers de sculpture en argent in 1734.
This highly sculptural model proved to be very fashionable and was executed with variations both in gilt bronze and in porcelain (an example from the famous Meissen swan service for Count Bruhl of 1739 is on view in the German and Austrian Galleries).
Angelica and Medoro
This painting is based on Ludovico Ariosto's epic poem Orlando Furioso.
It depicts Angelica, the pagan daughter of an imaginary king of China, who abandoned the Christian knight Orlando for the knight Medoro, a North African Muslim.
The Glorification of the Giustiniani Family
This oil sketch is a precious record of a ceiling in Genoa's ducal palace that was destroyed in the 1860s.
Tiepolo's composition can be compared with his father's ceiling design for Würzburg, which Domenico helped to execute (see the oil sketch for that painting nearby).
The younger Tiepolo depicted a Giustiniani family patriarch, Jacopo, at the top of a staircase, kneeling before a personification of the Ligurian Republic.
The Sacrifice of Iphigenia
This oil sketch for a ceiling in Palazzo Gnudi Scagliarini in Bologna takes its subject from the Greek playwright Euripides ca. 480 - 406 BC
Agamemnon's daughter is about to be sacrificed to appease the goddess Diana, who at the climactic moment appears and substitutes a deer on the altar.
The Birth of Venus
The first version of Cabanel's Birth of Venus (Musée d'Orsay, Paris) created a sensation at the Salon of 1863, which was dubbed the "Salon of the Venuses" owing to the number of alluring nudes on view.
The Salon picture was purchased by Napoleon III for his personal collection.
In 1875, New Yorker John Wolfe commissioned the present, slightly smaller, replica from Cabanel.