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Suit Yourself™ International Magazine #44: Putti Party Part 1

  

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Suit Yourself™ International Magazine  #44: Putti Party

Part One

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This is the 44th in our articles series and I hope this information is helpful.

All previous articles in the series can be found in our Library:
https://suityourself.international/libraryindex.html
and in the Magazine Archives:
https://suityourself.international/appanage/index.php?_a=newsletter
If you are experiencing problems viewing this newsletter in email, please use one of these links.

Upon request, reprint permission and an addendum of substantiating resources are available for all magazine articles. When requesting reprint permission or addenda, please include the issue date and full issue title. All magazine articles are copyright © Debra Spencer, Suit Yourself ™ International. All rights reserved. ISSN 2474-820X.
 

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PUTTI PARTY

Part One

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Agostino Carracci, Whispering Angels.

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"Though there are hundreds and indeed thousands of metaphors to be found, they may all be traced back to a few simple patterns. But this need not trouble us, since each metaphor is different: every time the pattern is used, the variations are different."
Jorge Luis Borges (2000). "This Craft of Verse." p. 33.

 

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Eduardo Tojetti (1851 – 1930); three putti musicians.

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Putti (singular Putto) are an imaginary hybrid form combining human baby characteristics with bird's wings. They're usually depicted in groups as very busy airborne neonates (newborn children within 28 days of age), genderless babies with wings.

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Putti on a tortoise. Annesso alla sala di ercole, soffitto di vasari e marco da faenza: "festina lente" .

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When a putto figure is represented on its' own, it represents a very different metaphor, and has a very different meaning, than when depicted  in a group.

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A blindfolded, armed Cupid (1452/66) by Piero della Francesca  done between 1452 and 1466 a fresco in Basilica di San Francesco, Arezzo

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For etymology, 'putti' is the plural of the Italian word 'putto', from the Latin word "putus" (meaning "boy" or "child"). Today, in modern Italian, 'putto' also means little boys old enough to walk, e.g. toddlers. The word may have derived from the same Indo-European root as the Sanskrit word "putra" (meaning "boy child", as opposed to "son"), Avestan puθra-, Old Persian puça-, Pahlavi (Middle Persian) pus and pusar, all meaning "son", and the New Persian pesar "boy, son"

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Putti Cupid detail from a fresco.

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FLY BY NIGHT

Even if Putti could exist biologically, which they can't, they would be an aerodynamic impossibility; they simply aren't designed to fly on their own. Yes, I know, even winged pigs could be launched given sufficient thrust for liftoff.  As aerobiology points out, there's no real minimum or maximum airborne requirement size and even particulates can do it passively.  But as anyone who has ever flown a kite knows, it's one thing to get the kite airborne, and another thing entirely to maneuver it and fly it once airborne.


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    Antique engraving for flying a box kite. 

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A certain amount of size is required for anything to be able to manoeuvre via its' own power and not be overly affected by the wind, i.e. to "fly".  Flying is more complicated than gliding, and entirely different from "launching". Two pairs of opposing physical forces are involved in flight: thrust and drag, and lift and weight, a total of four separately calculated, interdependent, mutually considered relationships between variables.  


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    To launch a kite you have to create a lift force greater than the weight of the kite. The Lift changes with the square of the velocity. Harry Whittier Frees photograph, 3 kittens balloonists.

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Flying and gliding animals do in fact exist, and have existed in the past. Gliding is a more common evolution then flying; many rainforest animals have evolved to include the ability and several species of amphibians and aquatic animals have it.  Flying has evolved at least four times, in insects, birds, bats, and pterosaurs (a type of dinosaur). The jury is still out on which "dinosaur" had the greatest wingspan, and what would be required physically for a flying animal to have an 18-metre 59 foot wingspan; at the moment, there's no firm evidence for any flying animal, even the azhdarchid pterosaurs, to have been that large.


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   Charles Deffain modele L'Aigloplan; Médaille d'Or du concours LEPINE 1909. 
    In Paris, Charles Deffain was a commercial traveler in wooden toys and kites at M. Georges Tranchant, located in Montreuil-sous-Bois, near Paris. Charles Deffain joined the Turchet company in 1910.

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Putti, or even pigs with wings, might become airborne given sufficient thrust for takeoff, but only as projectiles; both lack the ability to manoeuvre while remaining airborne. One could say that their ideas don't fly, except in art and the imagination, where Physics can be different.


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        The size of the lift force is affected by many factors. Harry Whittier Frees photograph, Kitty Witch.

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Anything moving through something produces drag due to friction; anything moving through water or air produces "drag" due to friction. To slow or stop movement through a medium such as water or air, this "drag" must be increased; e.g., birds use their tails and feet to slow down their flight to land. Likewise, to increase movement through a medium such as water or air, the drag must be decreased; weight must be overcome in order to fly. Motor boats use motors.


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        Charles Deffain, Modeles 1903 - 1912.

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As airplanes have proven, there's more to flying than remaining airborne while weighing a lot.  


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       Harry Whittier Frees photograph; kitty flying a paper airplane.   

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Research demonstrates that flying birds are surprisingly sensitive to movements in their visual field, and they direct their flight in response. For example, when a hummingbird hovers, their visual system detects and separates self-generated motion from externally generated motion (e.g., motion from wind or an approaching predator).  Asymmetrical wings help produce thrust and lift but there's more to it; asymmetrical wings are found on all flying birds except hummingbirds. Hummingbirds, incidentally, evolved an usual hovering flight technique involving generating a trail of wake vortices; they evolved so they no longer have an alula, a small projection on the anterior edge of the wing. 

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        A trail of wake vortices generated by a hummingbird's flight. Discovered after training a bird to fly through a cloud of neutrally buoyant helium-filled soap bubbles and recording airflows in the wake with stereo photography. 
Ref: Rayner, J.M.V. 1995. Dynamics of vortex wakes of flying and swimming vertebrates. J. Exp. Biol. 49:131-155. Based on diagram seen in: Analysis of Vertebrate Structure, 5th Ed. (textbook) Milton Hildebrand, George Goslow. 2001. Figure 28.15. p537.

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All of this is substantiates that Putti are metaphorical representations; whenever and wherever you see them, they are not meant to be understood as literal representations of reality. 

So just what do they represent?

It is well to remember at this point that ancient myths are metaphors, not literal representations; they're not facts. Scholars added to them freely, interpreted and reinterpreted them endlessly, and rewrote and re-tailored them to suit their times. We do the same thing today; with today's profit motives, rewriting a sure seller makes more sense financially than writing anything new, unique, or unusual.

"The archetypes ...are not intellectually invented. They are always there  and they produce certain processes in the unconscious one could best compare with myths. That' s the origin of mythology. Mythology is a dramatization of a series of images that formulate the life of the archetypes."  -- Carl Jung, from Speaking, page 348.


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If you try to understand metaphors literally, they'll seem totally off the wall. Ancient myths depict behavior and actions that are metaphors for entirely different experiences and processes Metaphors build a bridge between the familiar and unfamiliar by explaining the unfamiliar in terms of the familiar.

Comparing metaphors literally with modern sensibilities makes little sense, and often makes the metaphors seem offensive. So don't even go there. Metaphorical language is not a foreign language; metaphorical understanding comes naturally and easily with very little practice.  I promise.

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    Harry Whittier Frees photograph;  Kitty reads to her dolls from her Bedtime Stories book.

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Recognize that these metaphorical stories represent some process in terms of some other process more familiar and handy at the time. By using metaphors that were understandable to most people way back then, these teachers managed to communicate complex processes very clearly.  Because they were masters at this, we can still understand them today, when we set our minds to listen carefully. 
 


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PUTTI PRECEDENTS

The Putti's form has ancient precedents. Winged human and animal mythological figures have appeared throughout history, often as metaphoric aids for making heavy concepts lighter than air. For example, the Egyptians represented a concept of a continuance essence aspect, Bâ, with the form of a bird with a human head. 

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    Bâ, with the form of a bird with a human head. From Wikipedia.

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Bâ represents one of many modes of existence for someone or something. Bâ continued after a human body died, and Bâ could be an aspect of objects such as Pyramids that had substantial presence and character, yet Bâ is not fungible with the Christian concept of soul. When Christianity spread in Egypt, rather than use the term Bâ, the Egyptians borrowed the Greek word "psyche" to describe the concept of soul.

The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland has, in its' permanent collection, an Egyptian golden Bâ amulet from the 3rd century BC early Ptolemaic period.

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    3rd century BC golden Bâ amulet from the Ptolemaic period. Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 

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From the late 8th century BC, a winged being with a human head is represented by the crowned Assyrian male Lamassu and female Shedu counterpart.  

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    Assyrian Assyrian Shedu from the entrance to the throne room of the palace of Sargon II at Dur-Sharrukin, late 8th century BC.

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At the Museum at Delphi, there is a statue of a sphinx on an ionic column capital dating from approximately 570 BC. A gift from the Naciens for the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, it came from the Greek island, the Ile de Naxos (Nassi, in Italian). The figure's hybrid form includes a human head and wings. 

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 Colonne vôtive des Naxiens. Vôtive column of Naxos Conosciuta come Sfinge dei Nassi.
Sfinge votiva originariamente posta su di un'alta colonna con capitello ionico di forma appiattita presso il Tempio di Apollo a Delfi.
Sphinx Votive originally placed on a high column with Ionic capital of form flattened at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Dated from 570 until 560 BC. Greek insular marble.

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Putti figures are found throughout the ancient world and remain a remarkably persistent archetype. Hybrid mythic forms combining human and animal are all "archaic survivors" descended from earlier versions. Putti were particularly significant to the Assyrians and Ancient Egyptians, and five thousand years later, to the Ancient Greeks and Ancient Romans. Some 1400 years after that, they again assumed significance during the Italian renaissance. 


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        Via Mimbelli, scala con putti alla Robbiana.

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PUTTI, PHANES, PYTHAGORUS, AND EROTES


Putti really come into their own in ancient Greek and Roman mythology.

Many ancient Greek creation myths serve as metaphoric introductions to simple Pythagorean geometry. Basically, what we now call a unit circle in geometry was then called the "world egg".  A "unit" circle is composed by making a dot somewhere, on something such as a clay table, papyrus, or a piece of paper, and that first dot thus becomes "the center point"; then making a second dot somewhere else. 


Between the first dot and the second, a line is drawn, connecting the first dot to the second dot. 


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        Drawing a circle using an AB line as a radii.

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Don't laugh at this; knowing which came first, the chicken or the egg, is an important point.

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    Pencil with an eraser on the end is erasing the circle as it draws it!

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If events at first appear unconnected, or unrelated, then connecting the dots with a line will establish a clear connection between them.

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    Uniform circular motion: two dots. no visible connecting radii.

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Connecting the dots with a line establishes cause and effect. By connecting the dots with a line, one point is designated as coming first before the other,  as the point of origin for the line, the begetter, of all subsequent dots and lines, and the second point is the begotten, inevitably coming later in time. 

    
    One radius generated from two points with the first point at the center.

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 That line, radiating outwards from the 1st center dot to connect it to the 2nd dot, is the "radii" line, which becomes a circle by continuing to move in a counterclockwise direction. 


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       Circle radians.

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This entire procedure, to create one generic circle, is, in other words, one "unit" of "circle", a "unit circle".  The ancients referred to this procedure as "point-line-circle" and to the result as "the world egg". 

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        Antique engraving. Phanes's snake winds round the world egg.

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To the Ancients, the lower half of the circle represented "night", the lower hemisphere, and also the first part of life. On a modern analog clock, this would be the half from 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock, moving counterclockwise. The upper part of the circle represented "day", the upper hemisphere, and the rest of life; on a modern clock, this would be the half from 3 o'clock to 9 o'clock, moving counterclockwise. 

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       Day and night shadow this globe animation, as the earth turns on its' axis.

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Every circle thus has just one radii, but two diameters. And one can traverse the circumference of a unit circle in two directions: clockwise, or counterclockwise.  

The ancient Greeks represent this sequenced circle creation process metaphorically in many of their creation myths' genealogies. 

Some of the oldest beliefs for which there are records are those called Orphic, after Orpheus. Fragments of the poems of Orpheus have survived; these are dated as being from at least the 5th century BC and may be older. These ancient Orphic beliefs present a metaphor for the beginning of all creation in the form of a representation of complex traits named Phanos (or Phanes ).  

From the Greek verbs phanaô and phainô, the name Phanes means "bring to light" or "make appear". Phanes was equated by the Orphics with  the elder Eros (Desire) of Hesiod's Theogony.  A number of ancient sources (Proclus in Plato Crat. p. 36; Orphic Arg. 15; Lactantius. Instit. i. 5.) refer to this beginning being, representing it alternately as Phanes (Phanês), Eros (Elder), Ericapaeus, Metis, or Protogonus. The representation is also equated with Thesis (Creation) and with Physis (Nature).

Quote:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phanes_(mythology)
Phanes (Ancient Greek: Φάνης, genitive Φάνητος) or Protogonos (Greek: Πρωτογόνος, "First-born"), was the mystic primeval deity of procreation and the generation of new life, who was introduced into Greek mythology by the Orphic tradition; other names for this Classical Greek Orphic concept included Ericapaeus (Ἠρικαπαῖος or Ἠρικεπαῖος "power") and Metis ("thought"). (Thomas Taylor (1824). The Mystical Hymns of Orpheus (Second ed.). Chiswick. p. XV.)
(End Quote) 


Phanes was described as a beautiful, golden-winged, sexless deity wrapped in the coils of a serpent. 

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    Greco-Roman bas relief circa 2nd century A.D. from the Modena Museum in Italy.
Depicts Phanes hatching from the world egg, rod, torch, entwining snakes, and enclosed within the celestial equator and the twelve zodiac signs.

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His name means "bring to light" or "make appear" from the Greek verbs phanaô and phainô.


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        Detail from an Eros lamp holder, Greek, early 1st century BC, Bronze, Dallas Museum of Art.

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The poet Hesiod first represents this primordial deity as emerging self-born at the beginning of time to spur procreation. Hesiod represents the personification as Eros-the-Eldest, to distinguish Phanos/Eros-Elder from two beings he later mentions called Eros-Younger and Homeros, both of whom are winged human figures, and who accompany the birth of Venus Aphrodite from sea form. 

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    Eros, Himeros attending the birth of Venus Aphrodite;,detail from a Greco-Roman mosaic from Phillipopolis.

Essentially, Phanos is synonymous with the clay tablet, papyrus, or piece of paper on which one makes the 1st center point. Eros-Younger and Homeros are synonymous with the two points that create, when joined together with a line by Time ( a "Time Line"), the one radii line and two diameters;  they are, after all, winged figures.  Venus Aphrodite is synonymous with the resulting unit circle, and Hesiod tells us that Eros-Younger and Homeros are part of her retinue. Venus Aphrodite represents the love, desire, energy, attraction, radiation, and receptivity, that begets the World. 

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       Deriving an equilateral triangle from two intersecting circles of opposite directions sharing a common radius.

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Phanos's own mythical history also mirrors this sequence. 

Pharos-ErosElder always remains a distinct being in the myths, regardless of whether he's called Phanes (Phanês), Eros (Elder), Ericapaeus, Metis, Protogonus, Thesis (Creation) or Physis (Nature). Phanos first emerges from the "world egg", or is hatched from a primordial mix of elements split by Khronos (Chronos, Time) and Ananke (Inevitability) into constituent parts (the one radii with two diameters). Phanos is introduced as the generator of life, the force causing all creation in the Universe. This is a very serious job description.  As the new center, the new zero point on the world's number line, it is no coincidence that Phanos is represented as a hermaphrodite, a being containing both male and female sexes. 

Phanos eventually passes the "royal sceptre", read "radii line", to daughter Nyx (Night).  She, as female,  in turn gives it to her son, as male, whose name is Ouranos (Uranus - Heaven - Sky). Titan Kronos (Cronus - Time) seizes it, followed by Zeus - Jove (Lightening, a metaphor for chemistry and chemical change).

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            Scepters are Wands! Faschingsduell!

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From the point of view of the Unit Circle, or "World Egg", Phanos emerges, or is hatched, as the radii of the World, by joining the center first point established by Khronos (Chronos, Time), to the second point established by Ananke (Inevitability), pun intended and literally.  Remember, Phanes means "bring to light" or "make appear", which is precisely what this radii is doing.  Nyx (Night), the daughter to whom Phanos passes the scepter radii line, represents the first diameter, Night, or Yin, the receptive (again pun intended and literally), the lower hemisphere half, moving counterclockwise, from 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock. She in turn passes the radii line to her "Son", again pun intended, and literally, as Day, Yang, the active, who represents the second diameter, the upper hemisphere half, moving counterclockwise, from 3 o'clock to 9 o'clock. All this going round creates a spiral, an outwardly moving involute.

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           Involute, clockwise.

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The two points of the radii line enter the story as Eros-Younger and Homeros, so called "Twin Erotes" with opposing characteristics, and part of Venus Aphrodite's retinue.  Erotes is the pleural form of Eros, designating them as the "begotten" of Eros-Elder. 

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        Euclid.1.1.With Alternating Circle Colors.

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Eros-Younger and Himeros form an erotes polarity pair. They represent Yin and Yang, active and passive, positive and negative, male impregnator and female receptive. 


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       Detail from The Red Book of C. G. Jung.

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Eros-Younger is depicted primarily in sculpture, but also in pottery, as a handsome youth, carrying a  bow and arrow. 


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  Red-Figure Lekythos Showing Eros-Younger in the Role of Archer, circa 5th B.C.

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Himeros is depicted primarily on pottery vases and in mosaics, but occasionally in bronze,  as carrying a flaming torch. In distinct contrast to Eros-Younger,  Himeros appears as a little winged neotenous sexless neonate child, a putto.  


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These two are the two opposite sides of the number line, the two diameters of the Phanos one radii unit Venus Aphrodite circle. By Hellenistic times, they've become a motif in Roman art. On child sarcophagi of the 3rd century AD, they're generally getting into mischief in bacchanals, playing instruments, dancing, and doing sports.

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        3rd century AD front panel of a sarcophagus with the myth of Endymion and Selene. Roman artwork of the Imperial period. Found at Ostia in 1825

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The later scholars and artists constantly fiddled with these mythical arrangements, adding more erotes, changing the stories, and creating various soap opera scripts with them. As entertaining as this might be, the oldest scholars didn't do this, and inherent clarity will kept intact better if I don't meddle by adding any "new math".

Unfortunately for the Putti, their consistency in representation can only last so long, because any archetype, by definition, must change form as we interact with it; there's no "freeze-frame".  

"Every archetype is capable of endless development and differentiation. It is therefore possible for it to be more developed or less. In an outward form of religion where all the emphasis is on the outward figure (hence where we are dealing with a more or less complete projection), the archetype is identical with externalized ideas but remains unconscious as a psychic factor. When an unconscious content is replaced by a projected image to that extent, it is cut off from all participation in an influence on the conscious mind. Hence it largely forfeits its' own life, because prevented from exerting the formative influence on consciousness natural to it, what is more, it remains in its' original form - unchanged, for NOTHING CHANGES IN THE UNCONSCIOUS."  -- Carl Jung

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So putti change over time, sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse.  


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    These stucco putti have made off with the cardinal's hat, in the corner of a ledge of a hall of the Palazzo Rasponi Delle Teste.

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Here's  the Cliff-Notes Cliff-Hanger Preview:

The Erotes undergo trauma dramas. Eros-Younger, as Aphrodite Venus's son, shares an epic myth with a mortal named Psyche; they manage to marry only after grievous trial and error. Their myth's pattern exactly matches his father's, however, unlike his father, he settles down, becomes Cupid, and his honeymoon with Psyche lasts the duration of the middle ages. 

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       Harry Whittier Frees photograph; Wedding bells for these kitties.

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Homeros is stuck enlivening corners of illuminated medieval manuscripts, until he's rediscovered by an Italian alchemical painter named Donatello, during the Quattrocento in Florence Italy. Confined for too long within illegibly painted borders of strange ornate letters, Homeros bursts out, only to discover that being repeatedly hand copied hundreds of times has caused him to clone into dozens of copies, all appearing in groups. 

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Capitalizing on this, he becomes the era's mascot;  his clones make constant appearances in Renaissance sculpture and paintings everywhere. This increases his allure so substantially that he eventually quits his job assisting Aphrodite Venus, starts a Valentine Greeting Card company, and sends his clones off to work for Santa Claus. 

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Collection of ancient clay putti statues.

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Cupid and Psyche return from their honeymoon in time to be thwarted by Victorian sensibilities. Cupid, now married, finds himself considerably less attractive.


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        A very old teddy bear.

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    He discovers to his dismay that during his absence, museums have neglected his statues; significant portions have gone missing, e.g. arms, legs, and even entire heads and torsos have vanished.

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                Only the stone feet are left to wiggle their toes.

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Psyche has to work. 


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Animated terracotta statuette of a nude woman, Hellenistic century BC, Greek, Southern Italian, Tarentine, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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She has few marketable skills, but her remarkable beauty and royal connections are a guarantee she won't need any.

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One friend she quickly makes is the realism painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau. She brings him great fame and fortune.

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He is changing his style to tap into the growing American demand for the French soft porn market.
      


         

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He paints dozens of realistic rustic portraits of prepubescent girls, with, and without wings. 


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Keeping the new natural look in mind, Cupid lands acting jobs in silent science fiction movies by the French illusionist Georges Méliès. He eventually studies advertising and marketing with Edward Bernays, and creates a strikingly successful line of collectible winged teddy bears.

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What happens next? What does the Renaissance do with this inundation of putti, and what happens to Greek and Roman divinities in a Christian era? Was the Delphi oracle really the source of all those cheeky puns in cheap American Valentine's Day cards? 

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       Restoration work; restauration d'un chérubin du XVIIième. 

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What happens next?  Find out next week!  

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      Putti d'or avec tambour.

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I sign our magazine articles "See Into The Invisible". Thanks for reading.
Best Wishes,
Debra Spencer

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171202 MAGAZINE Suit Yourself™ International Magazine #44 Putti Party Part 1. All Content is © Debra Spencer, Suit Yourself International. Technical Library FAQ Index ISSN
2474-820X. All Rights Reserved

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All Content is © Debra Spencer, Suit Yourself™ International. Technical Library FAQ Index ISSN 2474-820X. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce in part or in whole without express written consent. Thank you.
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All Content is ©2019 Debra Spencer, Appanage™at www.suityourself.international Suit Yourself ™ International, 120 Pendleton Point, Islesboro Island, Maine, 04848, USA 44n31 68w91 Technical Library FAQ Index ISSN 2474-820X. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce in part or in whole without express written consent. Thank you.

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All Content is ©2019 Debra Spencer, Appanage™at www.suityourself.international Suit Yourself ™ International, 120 Pendleton Point, Islesboro Island, Maine, 04848, USA 44n31 68w91 Technical Library FAQ Index ISSN 2474-820X. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce in part or in whole without express written consent. Thank you.
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