Cherubs started as artistic Biblical images and religious icons seen on church buildings, but their beauty and symbolism inspired artists to make them prominent figures and characters in paintings, frescoes, and sculptures. these winged beings, often depicted as childlike angels, are famous images in art history and are often seen in scultpures for the garden. Cherubs are very similar in appearance to, and at times synonymous to: angels, putti, seraphim, and cupid. Cherubs most often symbolize godly or romantic love, as displayed in our Love Letter Sculptural Box.
Putti also made their way onto church frescoes and into the works of Renaissance painters such as Raffaelleo Sanzio (Raphael) who painted the famous two cherubs in the detail of the Sistine Chapel Madonna. Raphael’s Cherub sculptures are depicted as young childlike creatures with pudgy, soft skin, and innocent faces. The cherubs gaze heavenward toward the Madonna, deep in thought and adoration.
Even though historically, Putti and Cherubs were different (Putti were profane; Cherubs, sacred), “Putto” and “Cherub” are now used interchangeably in art to describe the image of a winged, childlike angel, such as our Sleepy Time Sculptural Angel and our Afternoon Nap Angel garden angel sculptures. Found in Italian Renaissance art and beyond, putti are usually male, pudgy, and naked. The word “putto” literally means child in Italian. Putti and cherubs can be found in secular art in addition to religious art. The best-known putti artists are Raphael and Donatello and those who modeled their artwork after these masters.