Let's start here: not all putti have wings. Yes, some (like Cupid) are winged. And, yes, Baroque churches and palaces often showed flying putti holding-up the ceiling or other architectural elements. But putti need not be winged. They are usually shown as chubby, naked, male toddlers.
Another distinction: putti are not angels. Cherubs got their start in pre-Christian mythology and were thought to be able to influence (or interfere with) human lives—for good or bad. Cupid is one such cherub (known in Greek as Eros). He is the little god of sexual desire and erotic passion, hardly the proper job description of an angel. Angels, on the other hand, are intermediaries (or ambassadors) of God—often sent as a messenger or holy visitor. Angels are supposed to be genderless, although some artists have endowed certain angelic representations with masculine or feminine characteristics.
One final point: the noun "putti" is plural, referring to two or more "putto."
The bookends above, made in the 1920's, show two (wingless) putti leaning into their task of holding-up your books. They are nicely sculpted and clad in bronze, finished with a (now aged) golden bronze patina. Click on the photo above to learn more about them.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248