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Suit Yourself™ International Magazine #45: Putti Party Part 2

  

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Suit Yourself™ International Magazine  #45: Putti Party

Part Two

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This is the 45th 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 Two

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This article takes a quick look at western culture from a Putto's Point Of View, from Prehistoric times to the Settecento, the 18th century AD. The 19th and 20th centuries are covered in the next article. Please also read Part One for an overview of Putti. Like all of us, putti come in many shapes, sizes, and variations; what's important is what they represent, and how they are representing it.

We represent Putti at any given time in much the same way as we are being treated by others at that time; taking a moment to reflect on Putti history is thus both illuminating and of great practical utility.

 

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Winged Victory of Samothrace, Nike, 2nd Century BC;  at the Louvre Museum, Paris, France since 1884.

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Putti have always been consistently and explicitly expressed by humans in some way. Prehistoric versions exist as various interpretations in caves and on paleolithic rock walls. So far, over 350 different sites with "cave art" have been discovered, from the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula to the Urals, and of these, nearly half are in France, including Ariège, Chauvet, Cosquer, Lascaux, Niaux, Le Tuc d'Audoubert, and Rouffignac (in the French Dordogne). The images in the cave "Les Trois-Frères" (the three bothers) in Ariège, France, date as being made approximately 13,000 BC.
(http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/france/)

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The French paleontologist and prehistorian Henri Breuil (right 3rd), alongside other archaeologists, observes the Lascaux prehistoric cave paintings.

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CUEVA DE LAS MANOS, RIO PINTURAS

Prehistoric images of palms of hands are not uncommon. They're not meant solely as "wallpaper decor" nor are they just the "Department of Redundancy Department".  Many such "paint-with-all-over-wall-coverage handprints" have been found and I maintain these, in profusion,  are some of our earliest form of "putti".

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Chief Kachina Dance; Moki Cliff Dwellers Village, Sichomovi - Arizona USA, 1901. Photographer unknown.

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One such example is at Lower Fish Creek, Cedar Mesa, Grand Gulch and Comb Ridge, Utah.

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Many Handprints; Lower Fish Creek, Cedar Mesa, Grand Gulch and Comb Ridge, Utah.

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Granary Cliffs; Lower Fish Creek, Cedar Mesa, Grand Gulch and Comb Ridge, Utah.

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There is a remarkable series of cave decorations consisting of splayed open palms of hands, stenciled all over the walls, in a series of caves located in the province of Santa Cruz, Argentina, 163 km (101 mi) south of the town of Perito Moreno in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina.. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1999. These images, along with accompanying depictions of various creatures, are at Los Cuevas de las Manos (Spanish, The Caves of the Hands).

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Cueva de las Manos, Río Pinturas

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The age of the paintings was calculated from the remains of bone-made pipes found there that had apparently been used for spraying the paint on the wall of the cave to create silhouettes of hands. Last inhabited around 700 AD, these caves saw several waves of occupation, and the oldest images date from between 13,000 to 9,000 years ago. Later images have been carbon-dated to ca. 9300 BP (about 7300 BC).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cueva_de_las_Manos

UNESCO says (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/936 ):
"The Cueva de las Manos, Río Pinturas, contains an exceptional assemblage of cave art, executed between 13,000 and 9,500 years ago. It takes its name (Cave of the Hands) from the stencilled outlines of human hands in the cave, but there are also many depictions of animals, such as guanacos (Lama guanicoe ), still commonly found in the region, as well as hunting scenes. The people responsible for the paintings may have been the ancestors of the historic hunter-gatherer communities of Patagonia found by European settlers in the 19th century....The entrance to the Cueva is screened by a rock wall covered by many hand stencils. Within the rock shelter itself there are five concentrations of rock art, later figures and motifs often superimposed upon those from earlier periods. The paintings were executed with natural mineral pigments - iron oxides (red and purple), kaolin (white), and natrojarosite (yellow), manganese oxide (black) - ground and mixed with some form of binder...The artistic sequence, which includes three main stylistic groups, began as early as the 10th millennium BP [Before Present]. The sequence is a long one: archaeological investigations have shown that the site was last inhabited around AD 700 by the possible ancestors of the first Tehuelche people of Patagonia."
    

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Cueva de las Manos, Río Pinturas

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"The Cueva is considered by the international scientific community to be one of the most important sites of the earliest hunter-gatherer groups in South America during Early Holocene that still maintains a good state of preservation and has a singular environment formation, unique at Santa Cruz province. The habitat surrounding the archaeological site remains intact and has the same animal species depicted through cave art approximately 10,000 years ago. This also applies to plant species...The authenticity of the rock art of the Cueva de Los Manos is unquestionable. It has survived several millennia untouched and no restoration has been carried out since it became widely known to the scientific community in the second half of the 20th century. The archaeological excavations have been very restricted, so as to obtain the maximum cultural information for dating the art with the minimum disturbance to archaeological layers or to the appearance of the rock shelter. Scientific excavations have made it possible to relate the cave depictions located in the site to the communities living in the region since the 10th millennium Before Present. The evidence of the excavations made in the cave area led to the establishment of context links between the cultural levels and paintings."

"The authenticity of the pictorial sequence was also verified by in-depth research. The art sequence of the Cueva de las Manos is based on a detailed study of overlapping, the different use of hues, its various states of conservation, and the location of the depictions along different defined sectors. Its relation to the various cultural levels of the site is supported by carbon dating and indicators showing a direct association with them, such as mineral pigments or remains of painted fragments that came off the wall and found in the excavations. These elements, along with research evidence and interdisciplinary analyses, strongly support the authenticity of the Cueva de las Manos site as a unique example of one of the earliest hunter-gatherer communities living in the South American region in the Early Holocene."

For more information, see the UNESCO entry at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/936 

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HANDS IN ANTIQUITY

In antiquity, hands becomes wings, thoughts take wing and become form, and the power of thought, while lighter than air, is thoroughly grounded in stones, clay, and metals of the earth, some of which are portable, and then tradable.

Wings as religious symbols can be traced back beyond Ancient Egypt. Several beings of antiquity were endowed with wings, with perhaps the most enduring being the Egyptian motif of Khehri (the flying scarabus beetle), and Isis herself, who becomes a Kite bird in the myth of Isis and Osiris. From the 1st century BC, the myth of Isis and Osiris was enormously influential throughout the Roman Empire. We know the myth from Plutarch, under the Latin title "De Iside et Osiride"; he wrote this treatise on Isis and Osiris in Greek, in the 1st century AD.

D.S. Richter, "Plutarch On Isis and Osiris: Text, Cult, and Cultural Appropriation", Transactions of the American Philological Association (2001) 131:191–216

Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride - in English translation
http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Plutarch/Moralia/Isis_and_Osiris*/home.html


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   Isis depicted with outstretched wings; a wall painting, c.1360 BC in the tomb of of Seti I in the Valley of the Kings (KV17). 

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In Egyptian mythology, Horus was the child of Isis and Osiris. Egyptian statues represent Horus as a winged naked little boy child, and they set his body language to represent their hieroglyph for "child" by posing him with his finger on his chin with the fingertip just below the lips of his mouth. The Hawaii'an culture does something similar with Hula. We now know that the Greco-Romans interpreted Horus' body language gesture as meaning "silence" instead of as a hieroglyphic determinative, and they perpetuated this erroneous interpretation. Below is an image of the Egyptian hieroglyphic determinative symbol for "child" so you can see it for yourself.


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     The Egyptian hieroglyphic determinative symbol for "Child".

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The end result was an emergence of another Putti variation. This time, Putti were adapted by the Greeks from the Egyptian child god Horus.  Alexander the Great conquered Egypt in 332 BC.  Egyptian Horus transformed  into Hellenistic Harpocrates, Egyptian Har-pa-khered or Heru-pa-khered "Horus the Child".  

Harpocrates (Ancient Greek: Ἁρποκράτης) became the Greco-Roman god of silence, secrets, confidentially, ciphers, cryptography, and according to Plutarch, hope.

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    Harpocratic Eros, a terracotta figurine made in Myrina, Greece, c.100–50 BC. Louvre Museum, Paris, France.

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Incidentally, roses became an Harpocrates symbol, indicating confidentiality and privacy. Rooms were decorated with running rose motifs, including lost wax cast bronzes of wild trellis roses running all around the room. These indicated that events that transpired there were "sub-rosa", under the rose, and stayed there. Roses acquired a hush-hush meaning, behind closed doors, off the record, under one's hat, in a whisper, in strictest confidence, not to be disclosed or revealed, in one ear and out the same ear. 

This "understanding" has become today's phrase "Whatever happens on the mountain, stays on the mountain".   And where have all the flowers gone? They've gone to decorate all those Putti, everyone.

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    1st century Roman Cast Silver from Egypt; Harpocrates Eros with a Falcon, a Jackal, and a Serpent. Walters Art Museum Baltimore.

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In India, hands appeared on walls; beside one of the gates to the Junagarh Fort, Bikaner District, Rajasthan, India, are the hand prints of women who committed sati when their husbands died in battle while defending the fort.  

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    Beside one of the gates to the Junagarh Fort, Bikaner District, Rajasthan are the hand prints of women who committed sati when their husbands died in battle while defending the fort.  

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Sati is a suicide practice dating from the 1st century BC; when a woman's husband died, the widow would commit suicide by immolating herself on her husband's funeral pyre. Sati was not generally banned as a practice until fairly recently (see the history at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sati_(practice)). 


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Boy In Mid-Flight, India.  Photograph by Steve McCurry (b. 1950), 2007. Christies.com.

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Few of these ancient hands remain in collections today, but there are some, and they're primarily concerning a deity known as Sabazios, an Eastern Thracian-Phrygian influence into Rome.  

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      Bronze Palm of a Human Left Hand.

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Thrace, now modern Bulgaria, wasn't a literate culture before Hellenisation; what we know of this deity comes primarily from a few remaining artifacts and a notation in the Suda, a Byzantine Greek Lexicon from the 10th century AD. Below is a photograph of a Villanovan bronze votive hand, circa 7th century BC. The Villanovans introduced metal iron-working to the Italian peninsula; their culture began in approximately 1100 BC. They were the earliest Iron Age culture of central and northern Italy.

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        A Villanovan bronze votive hand circa 7th century BC.

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From the sheer volume and ratio of his associated symbols in remaining artifacts, it's evident that Sabazios was immensely popular.

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        A Zeus Sabazios Bust Statue.

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The Suda, a Byzantine Greek Lexicon from the 10th century AD states:
"Sabazios... is the same as Dionysos. He acquired this form of address from the rite pertaining to him; for the barbarians call the bacchic cry 'sabazein'. Hence some of the Greeks too follow suit and call the cry 'sabasmos'; thereby Dionysos [becomes] Sabazios. They also used to call 'saboi' those places that had been dedicated to him and his Bacchantes... Demosthenes [in the speech] 'On Behalf of Ktesiphon' [mentions them]. Some say that Saboi is the term for those who are dedicated to Sabazios, that is to Dionysos, just as those [dedicated] to Bakkhos [are] Bakkhoi. They say that Sabazios and Dionysos are the same. Thus some also say that the Greeks call the Bakkhoi Saboi."
( Sudas, under 'Sabazios,' 'saboi'; Sider, David. "Notes on Two Epigrams of Philodemus". The American Journal of Philology, 103.2 (Summer 1982:208-213) pp209f. Also trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek Lexicon C10th A.D.)) 

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    A Hittite silver ceremonial drinking vessel in the shape of a fist, from the Boston Museum. The Hittites came into Anatolia some time before 2000 BC and created an empire centered in what is now Turkey from c. 1,600 BC to 1,180 BC. 

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Below is a photograph of one of the few surviving Phrygian stelae recovered from the Roman world. This is from Roman Illyria (modern Albania). Within the upper triangle at the top are a pair of deities, holding between them a pole with a hand mounted atop it. The hand is shown in a gesture with the first two fingers extended while the thumb is held upright, flush to the palm, with the remaining two fingers bent inwards folding over the palm. These two deities may be the Phrygian gods Cybele and Attis, or possibly Selene and Endymion, or Artemis and Apollo. The female, wearing draperies and a belt, is encircled by a crescent moon shape. The male is wearing a raying crown, and wearing draperies across one shoulder, very similar to the US Statue of Liberty. The symbols of the Thracian - Phrygian god Sabazios are evident here. 

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    Sol and Luna stand above Sabazios in this cultic Roman plaque from Roman Illyria (modern Albania).

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Sabazius inspired a series of votive images of hands, the fingers of which form the gesture of benediction still used in Christian practice.  

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        The front and back sides of one Roman Bronze Votive Hand, 3rd-4th Century AD.  

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These small votive hands, typically made of copper or bronze, often have a small perforation at their base suggesting they were meant to be attached to something, possibly a pole carried in a procession.
( M.J. Vermaseren, Corpus Cultis Jovis Sabazii, in Études Préliminaires aux Religions Orientales dans l'Empire Romain 100.1 (Leiden, etc: Brill) 1983 assembles the corpus of these hands. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabazios )

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        Gravure, mains votive, Sabazios.  

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 The image below is of one of two Sabazios hands in the British Museum. This bronze hand was used in the worship of Sabazios, Roman 1st-2nd century AD. The second similar bronze hand in the British Museum was found in the 16th-17th century AD in Tournai, Belgium. ( http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online)

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        Bronze hand used in the worship of Sabazios, in the British Museum.  

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Below is a photograph of a Sabazios copper alloy Roman hand, in the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.  It was used in ritual worship. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore says: "Missing from this example is the small figure of Sabazius himself, who was typically seated in the palm of the hand above the ram's head. Around him are his major cult symbols, including a snake, a lizard, and the heads of a lion, a ram, and a bull. On the tip of the thumb is the pinecone of Dionysus. The opening in the wrist, shaped like a temple, had a hinged door that revealed an unknown, lost object, perhaps a reclining mother and child, as seen in other examples. Origin: Rome, Italy, Rome. (http://art.thewalters.org/detail/20966/hand-of-sabazius/ )

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    This copper alloy Roman hand of Sabazios was used in ritual worship. Few hands remain in collections today. Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.   

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Apparently, the symbolism on these metal objects is not well understood, which is to say, nobody agrees on what they want these symbols to mean. These hands used a very specific set of uncommon symbols, designed to insure they would not to be mistaken for common dishpan hands.

They are set in the benediction gesture, as described above (think Hula anyone?).

An Orphic World Egg, frequently as a pinecone, is balanced atop the thumb, or the thumb and forefinger. For a discussion on what the Orphic World Egg is, please refer to the first article in this series, Putti Part 1.

Resting on the third and forth bent fingers is usually a serpent or basilisk (serpent with a cock’s comb: lit. ‘king of serpents’), often accompanied by other ‘serpentae’ or ‘herpetae’, e.g. frogs, turtles and lizards.

On the palm, there's often a Ram's Head; sometimes there's a little bearded man with lunar ‘horns’, a Zeus Aries Sabazios. There will also be small images of bowls, cups, and a Dionysian Krater, which has a uniquely identifiable shape.

On the inner wrist, below the palm there is usually a figure in repose, a mother resting, sometimes also with a child.

Other symbols show up on the Roman versions, including but not limited to Mercury-Hermes' Caduceus, scales, eagles, grape vines, sacrificial knives, and/or a lituus (a ceremonial wand). Maybe once a hand was decorated with one tattoo, it just had to get more.


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PAIRS OF WINGS


Hands come in pairs: a left, and a right. So do feet. Wings also function in pairs. Wings (and hands, feet, legs, ears, eyes, nostrils, etc.) have inherent polarity.

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        The Winged Victory of Samothrace, in the Louvre Museum, in Paris, France.


Wings are always depicted as a pair of wings and insects get two pairs (forewings and hindwings). 

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         A vivid Blue Dragonfly.       

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However, in contrast to the physics of aerodynamic and optical lift forces, wings, as represented in Greek and Roman antiquity, perform like "Cartoon Physics" jet packs. Unlike real world wings, ancient wings are capable of lifting anything and anyone, and carrying them anywhere. 

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     Bellerophon on a metal coin.      

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In Greek and Roman antiquity, all sorts of creatures and objects have wings, and some are depicted both ways, with and without wings, so clearly, these "wings" are meant to be understood symbolically, as metaphors, and not taken literally.

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   Bellerophon archaic pottery.         

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Do we have any definitive way of knowing what wings represented in Greek and Roman antiquity? Well, the answer is "sort-of". 

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      The evolution the Brescia Nike mascot statue: La Vittoria Alata di Brescia; da Venere a Nike: the 4th century BC (left), the 1st century AD (middle), and the 2nd century AD (right).         

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THE SUDA

The Suda, a 10th century AD Byzantine Greek reference, contains a passage about wings while directly referring to statues which no longer exist, and to speeches for which we have no records. But as luck would have it, a copy of one of the statues does still exist. So we can map that portion of the 10th century AD Byzantine Greek statement onto a copy of one of the statues existing in our current world, and draw some hopefully sensible conclusions and no euhemerisms, please.  

The reference refers to representations of Nike, as wingless when the xoanon of Nike, and winged when held by Athena Parthenos.    

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     La Vittoria Alata di Brescia, 4thC BC, without wing, and with wings, however,  without a shield or mirror.

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(Quote)
Suidas s.v. Nike Athena (trans. Suda On Line, Byzantine Greek Lexicon from the 10th century AD) :
"Nike Athena: Lykourgos (Lycurgus) in the [speech] "On the Priestess" [mentions her]. That the xoanon of Nike, wingless, holding a pomegranate in her right hand and a helmet in her left, was worshipped by the Athenians Heliodoros the Periegete has shown in the first book of his "On the Akropolis".  
    
"Alternatively [she stands] allegorically for the notion that even winning is completely dependent on thought; for thought contributes to victory, but being thoughtless and impetuous while fighting leads to defeat."

"When she has wings she symbolizes that aspect of the mind that is sharp and, so to speak, swift-winged; but when she is depicted without wings she represents that aspect of it that is peaceful and quiet and civil, that by which the things of the earth flourish, a boon of which the pomegranate in her right hand is a representation. Just as the helmet in her left [is a representation] of battle. Thus she has the same capability as Athena."
(End Quote)

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    Wings on the brain represent a fast mind. ~ Torso Detail of Hermes Mercury by François Rude, lost wax cast bronze, Louvre Museum, France. 

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‘Suidas’ refers to a massive encyclopedic 10th century AD Byzantine Greek reference work known as the Suda (or Stronghold). Written in sometimes dense Byzantine Greek prose, it consists of approximately 30,000 entries on the ancient Mediterranean world, covering the whole of Greek and Roman antiquity (literature, history, biography), and Biblical and Christian era material. 

This period, the Macedonian dynasty of the Byzantine Empire (867–1056), and particularly the 10th Century, marked a resurgence of interest in classical scholarship and a reassessment of those ideals, after nearly two centuries of suppression due to a ban on worshiping images, a custom which had been in use for centuries, by the Emperor Leo III in 726 AD, and continued under his successors. The iconoclastic result of the ban was deliberate destruction of the culture's own religious icons, symbols, and monuments; the reaction resulted in massive destabilization across the Empire from revolts, deepening the divide between Eastern and Western Christendom. Wrong move, Leo. 

The Suda emerges from the time period when classical motifs and archetypes could once again continue being assimilated into Christian artwork. In the 9th and 10th centuries, the Byzantine Empire's military situation improved, and art and architecture revived. The art of sculpting in ivory flourished.

The Suda is an invaluable resource, with many details that would otherwise be unknown to us about Greek and Roman antiquity; it is also a vital text for studying Byzantine intellectual history. If you read Greek, the Suda is now available online as a searchable database at http://www.stoa.org/sol/ , the result of a Herculean international collaboration lasting over sixteen years.

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    Miniature 48 from the Constantine Manasses Chronicle, 14th century Destruction of a church under the orders of the iconoclast emperor Constantine V Copronymus.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:48-manasses-chronicle.jpg


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GOLDEN WINGS

Wings also have associations with gold, as in wealth, in addition to clarity of mind, calmness of purpose, health, fecundity, belonging, and community.

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        Un aille en bois sculpté doré.       

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The original Athena Parthenos, which once stood in the Parthenon, was a chryselephantine statue made by Phidias and his assistants.  Chryselephantine sculpture, designed to be massive, used carved ivory slabs and solid gold attached to a wooden armature; the technique's origins are unknown.

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        Replica, in Nashville, TN, of the original Athena Parthenos by Phidias.      

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The Athena Parthenos statue held a figure of Nike in her outstretched right hand; this Nike figure was essentially a gold bullion depository bank. 

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        Detail of the Headless Nike perched in the hand of the Athena Parthenos.      

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Chryselephantine statues were constructed to be modular to insure gold portions were readily removable and replaceable. The figure of Nike held in the right hand of Pheidias' Athena Parthenos was specifically made from solid gold for this purpose. As many as six solid gold Nikae were cast in prosperous times, and stored, serving the purpose of a "sacred treasury". Safety was ensured by the sanctity accorded to cult objects, as well as 24/7 watchful temple priestesses, priests, and maintenance guards. For more information, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chryselephantine_sculpture

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       A gold bulla with Daedalus and Icarus. Etruscan, 5th century BCE. Walters Art Museum.       

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The original Athena Parthenos statue is mentioned by Pausanias in his Guide To Greece:
 Pausanias, Description of Greece (Paus. 1.24.7):
"The statue of Athena is upright, with a tunic reaching to the feet, and on her breast the head of Medusa is worked in ivory. She holds a statue of Victory about four cubits high, and in the other hand a spear; at her feet lies a shield and near the spear is a serpent. This serpent would be Erichthonius. On the pedestal is the birth of Pandora in relief. Hesiod and others have sung how this Pandora was the first woman; before Pandora was born there was as yet no womankind. The only portrait statue I remember seeing here is one of the emperor Hadrian, and at the entrance one of Iphicrates,1 who accomplished many remarkable achievements."
1 A famous Athenian soldier.fl. 390 B.C.

Pausanias. Pausanias Description of Greece with an English Translation by W.H.S. Jones, Litt.D., and H.A. Ormerod, M.A., in 4 Volumes. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1918.

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    Pausanias; Victory in  stone.         

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An ancient Roman era replica of the Athena Parthenos exists; it's called the Varvakeion Athena, named for where it was found, near the original site of the Varvakeion School. Made in approximately 200 to 250 AD and is generally considered to be the most faithful reproduction, it's now part of the collection of the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

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        Printed drawing of the Varvakeion Athena Parthenos.       

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There are differences between Pausanias's description of the original Athena Parthenos, and Pliny's description of the Varvakeion Athena, the Roman era replica. Pausanias's description of the original's base has a frieze decorated with the birth of Pandora. Pliny describes the Roman era replica's base as plain. Pausanias describes a spear and the amazonomachy on the shield front, both of which aren't mentioned in Piny's description of the Roman era replica. For more information, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varvakeion_Athena

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    A drawing of the Varvakeion Athena Parthenos.       

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"The Varvakeion Athena (129)". National Archaeological Museum.
 Kaltsas, Nikolaos (2002). Sculpture in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens. Athens: Kapon Editions. p. 104. ISBN 9780892366866. Retrieved 2016-06-07.
Harrison, Evelyn B. (1996). "Pheidias". In Palagia, Olga; Pollitt, J. J. Personal Styles in Greek Sculpture. Yale Classical Studies. XXX. Cambridge University Press. pp. 42–51. ISBN 9780521657389. Retrieved 2016-06-29.

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ARCHAIC GREECE

Archaic Greece refers to a time period of great change, before the Classical, from the Olympic Games in 776 BC until 480 BC and the Second Persian invasion of Greece. The population increased. Writing was introduced; pottery inscribed in Greek  appears by the middle of the eighth century BC. From the ninth century BC onwards, objects inscribed with Phoenician writing had been brought into the Greek world, and it was from this Phoenician script that the Greek alphabet developed in the eighth century BC. 

What we know about the Archaic Greek world is based primarily on archeological evidence, much of which is truly original to the time. 

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        Etruscan terracotta jug in the shape of a siren, c.700 BC, Metropolitan Museum Of Art, New York.       

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This is in strong contrast to the evidence we have pertaining to the later Classical period. Much of our knowledge of Classical Greek art comes from later Roman copies, and our knowledge of Classical traditions comes primarily from later Greek writers such as  Herodotus, who recorded only for dates after 480 BC and without verifying accuracy.

Osborne, Robin (1998). Archaic and Classical Greek Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780192842022.
Osborne, Robin (2009). Greece in the Making: 1200–479 BC (2 ed.). London: Routledge. ISBN 9780203880173.
Shapiro, H.A. (2007). "Introduction". In Shapiro, H.A. The Cambridge Companion to Archaic Greece. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


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    Engraving, from 1888, of a winged Nike of Brescia, the Vittoria Alata of the Winged Victory with shield, from Brescia, 3rd century BC to 1st century AD.         

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THOUGHT TAKES WINGS: 
THE MYTHS OF DAEDELIC DAEDALUS & HIS SON ICARUS 
AND PHRIXUS & HIS SISTER HELLE

During the later part of the 8th Century BC, the Archaic Greeks were heavily influenced by the more sophisticated arts of the Eastern Mediterranean and Ancient Near East. During this time, known as the Orientalizing period, they developed their own style by adapting motifs from many sources, including Syria, Assyria, Phoenicia, Israel, and Egypt. We see the first appearance of abstract elaborate motifs, stylized vegetables, and exotic animals like the Lion (not native to Greece at the time) and hybrid monsters. Sphinxes, were added to the griffin, already found at Knossos.

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        The Greeks were developing a style all their own. One-handled Drinking Cup (Kyathos) Unknown artist, Etruscan, Etruria One. 

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Monumental and figurative sculpture in this style is often called Daedelic, after Daedalus, the mythological inventor, engineer, artist, founder of Greek sculpture, and creator of the Cretan Labyrinth hiding the hybrid half-man half Bull of Minos. Daedalus is first mentioned by Homer, in the Iliad (Iliad xviii, 590-3) as the creator of a wide dancing-ground for Ariadne.

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        Daedalus depicted on an Etruscan pottery jar, attributed to Micali Painter,circa 520 - 500 BC.

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The etiology, for Greek mythology:  Daedalus /ˈdɛdələs ˈdiːdələs/; Ancient Greek: Δαίδαλος Daidalos "cunningly wrought", perhaps related to δαιδάλλω "to work artfully"; Latin: Daedalus; Etruscan: Taitale.  R. S. P. Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill, 2009, p. 296.

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   A small bronze sculpture of Daedalus from the 3rd century BC; found on Plaoshnik, Republic of Macedonia. 

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The story of the flight of Daedalus and his son Icarus is told later, by Ovid in his Metamorphoses (VIII:183–235). In summary, to prevent Daedalus revealing what he knows of the Labyrinth and its' secret, King Minos imprisons Daedalus and his son Icarus in a tower. Daedalus, longing to escape but without tools and materials to use, carefully constructs rather precarious wings for himself and Icarus, using materials on hand: feathers, string and wax. He ties the feathers together in graduated sizes, at their midpoints with string, and at their bases with wax. He warns Icarus that they are dangerous, and flying too close to the sun will melt the wax, but Icarus forgets himself in the joy of escaping, and soars upward toward the sun, softening the wax holding together the feathers, which disassemble; he quickly tumbles into the sea and drowns. 

Daedalus's presentation varies a great deal; he has as bad a rep for his association with Hubris  (as in "pride goeth before the fall") as he has a good rep for solving the problems Hubris creates, in particular, those embarrassing problems of Kings. 

The Wikipedia article on Daedalus mentions that an early image of winged Daedalus appears on an Etruscan jug of ca 630 BC found at Cerveteri, where a winged figure captioned Taitale appears on one side of the vessel, paired on the other side, uniquely, with Metaia, Medea. Unfortunately, I could not locate an image of this vase or verify its' existence. If it does exist, it would represents a remarkable conflation of a polarity pair of Colchis sorcerers.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daedaluses

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       Bulla with Daedalus and Icarus, Etruscan, century BC. A Bulla is a hollow pendant used to hold perfume. This was found containing the resin labdanum (or ladan). 

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It makes no sense to associate Daedalus simply with creating things that have negative consequences.  Both Daedalus and Medea are metaphors for human hypocrisy;  no good deed goes unpunished, and you're often damned if you do, and if you don't. The story of the flight of Daedalus and his son Icarus, as told by Ovid in his Metamorphoses (VIII:183–235), is a metaphor for the price paid for Freedom. Read it again next 4th of July, and you'll see it, clearly.

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A 17th-century relief depicting "The Fall of Icarus", with a Cretan labyrinth bottom right, Musée Antoine Vivenel.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icarus  

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Note the configuration of this story; here, there is a father and son, and the son "falls" misusing wings made for the escape by the father.  A similar but different variety of this configuration occurs in the myth of the escape of Phrixus and his sister Helle, on the Golden-Fleeced Ram, the Khyrosmallos. They, too, escape an ultimatum, but in their myth, it is Helle, the sister, who falls while escaping on a ram sent for the escape by their mother. 

The Ram, incidentally, does not have wings, but it does have magical "Golden Fleece" and can fly because it's a gift from Mercury - Hermes, who does have wings, and is the god of aerodynamics, among other things. It's also called the Crius Chrysomallus, or Khrysomallos (http://www.theoi.com/Ther/KriosKhrysomallos.html).

Phrixus and his sister Helle are the children from the first marriage of Jason's Uncle, King Athamas of Boiotia, to Nephele, a cloud goddess.  (This is, by the way, the same Jason as in Jason and the Argonauts, himself both a Restorer-hero and a fallen King).  King Athamas has remarried, nobody says why, to Ino.  Ino, the children's stepmother, hates them and wants them gone. Has anyone read Brothers Grim stories, e.g. Snow White, and Hansel and Gretel?  Same idea.  

2nd Wife Ino connives a convincing reason to corner husband King Athamas into sacrificing the children for some "greater good". Nephele, however, gets wind of it, pun intended. Not coming in person, she sends the children a gift from Mercury - Hermes, a magic flying Ram with Golden Fleece. At the moment of their execution, the children mount it and escape.  

Unfortunately, when the Ram flies over the ocean, Helle falls off into the sea. Sources disagree over the reasons for this. Some sources say she slipped off the Ram, she wasn't holding on, the Ram dumped her, she was allergic to Rams, she didn't want to touch the skin, she was thirsty, etc. I'm not making these up; theoi.com does a great job of translating a whole bunch of these on their site, at http://www.theoi.com/Pontios/Helle.html Check them out.  None of the sources agree over what happens to her afterwards. 

There's a traditional Scottish folk song that summarises the situation:
 My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean, My Bonnie Lies Over The Sea. Oh Bring Back My Bonnie To Me! 

(Charles E. Pratt published the sheet music in 1881, under the duo of pseudonyms H.J. Fuller and J.T. Wood.)

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 An ancient carved woodblock print depicting Phrixus und Helle as their story is told by Ovid in Metamorphoses, B. XIII.

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Phrixos, however, makes it safely to Colchis and the kingdom of Aeetes, where he settles and lives a life. Sources vary on specifics about what happens to the Ram, however all agree the Ram exits the story here, leaving behind his Golden Fleece top coat, and retires to a peaceful permanent residence in the Heavens as the Spring Constellation Aries. 
(http://www.theoi.com/Ther/KriosKhrysomallos.html )

The Golden Fleece of this Ram is now in Colchis, where Phrixus's Uncle Jason will be coming to get it.

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The constellation Aries.  

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Apollodorus. i. 9. § 1; Apollon. Rhod. i. 927; Ov. Fast. iv. 909, Met. xi. 195.:
HELLE (Hellê), a daughter of Athainas and Nephele, and sister of Phrixus.When Phrixus was to be sacrificed, Nephele rescued her two children, who rode away through the air upon the ram with the golden fleece, the gift of Hermes, but, between Sigeium and the Chersonesus, Helle fell into the sea, which was hence called the sea of Helle (Hellespont; Aeschyl. Pers. 70, 875). Her tomb was shown near Pactya, on the Hellespont. (Herod. vii. 57.)
Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.

Wiki lists some similar myths:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icarus
Kua Fu, a Chinese myth about a giant who chased the sun and died while getting too close
Bladud, a legendary king of the Britons, purported to have met his death when his constructed wings failed
Etana, a sort of "Babylonian Icarus"
Sampati, an Indian myth about a bird which lost its wings while trying to save its younger brother from the sun


Bettancourt, Philip, "The Age of Homer: An Exhibition of Geometric and Orientalizing Greek Art", pdf review, Penn Museum, 1969
Boardman, John ed. (1993), The Oxford History of Classical Art, 1993, OUP, ISBN 0198143869
Boardman, J. (1998), Early Greek Vase Painting: 11th-6th centuries BC, 1998
Burkert, W. The Orientalizing Revolution: Near Eastern Influence on Greek Culture in the Early Archaic Age, 1992.
Kleiner,  Fred S. ed. Gardner's Art Through the Ages: The Western Perspective 2010:14.

 

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TRANSITION 

From a very early date, the Greeks represented concepts such as Peace, Fortune, and Vengeance as goddesses. 
        
      

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    Hellenistic Statuette of Nike, Greek goddess of victory, from Vani, Georgia.

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Victory was one of the earliest representations and from the Archaic period (sixth century BC) onwards, she appears widely in a plethora of forms, such as statues, reliefs, vessels, coins, and terracotta or bronze figurines. 

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        A stone carving of the Nike of Brescia Vittoria Alata . Giovani senza memoria.

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Victory is an adult female with large wings that enable her to fly over the earth spreading news of any and all victories, whether athletic or battle. As a messenger, Angelos in Greek, she uses a trumpet to be heard. She brings the victor some insignia designator such as a crown, fillet, palm, or trophy, and upon her return to earth, tithes a portion of the victor's sacrifice to the gods on their behalf. 

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        Vittoria Alata fresco.

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Over time, her presentation evolves from simple to sophisticated, and by the Hellenistic period, examples such as the winged Victory of Samothrace are spectacular.

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     Winged Victory of Samothrace (Nike) at the Louvre. 

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When the Romans conquered the Greek world, they immediately adopted and adapted the goddess Victory, and she became their symbol of Roman world domination. 

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      Old Roman stone winged Victory statue, with an Orbi.

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They stood her atop a globe of the known world (orbi, orb, as in orbit); she is crowning the emperor and holding a shield inscribed with the glory of Rome. She's still depicted as standing, wearing a woman’s chiton belted under her breasts, with a fold hanging down to her hips.

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        Ancient Roman Bronze Figurine of Victory (Nike) with an Orbi.

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Incidentally, the archetypes represented by these statues continually re-enter every civilization, in some form or another. Our culture reintroduced them en masse as automobile hood ornaments, where many still have shapes similar to those they had in 700 BC.

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        A 1928 Rolls Royce Phantom I hood ornament.

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CUPID & PSYCHE & APULEIUS 

The story of Cupid and Psyche appears in Greek art as early as the 4th century BC, but the most extended literary source of the tale is the Latin novel Metamorphoses, also known as The Golden Ass, by Apuleius (2nd century AD).

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  A Hellenistic Terracotta Figure of Eros and Psyche, draped and wearing wreaths, from the 2nd - 1st century BC.

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The story concerns the necessity for surmounting obstacles and adversity to develop the character that is the foundation of all genuine love, as represented by the trials of Psyche ("Soul" or "Breath of Life") and Cupid, and their ultimate union in marriage. In this story, Psyche gets her "wings" when she passes the trials, becomes immortal herself by drinking ambrosia, and finally marries Cupid.

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        Angels cherubim sculpture, Napoléon III.

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Notice these illustrations; in the first and older example,  the pair are shown as adults and equals. By Napoléon III, the mid-1700's, they are shown as Putti children.

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FALL & RESURRECTION

After the decline of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD, economic disorder, disaster, and disruption of trade prevail and spread across Europe, while the Eastern Roman Empire was able to survive and flourish. This shift marks the beginning of the Early Middle Ages, which lasted roughly until the end of the 10th century and beginning of the 11th century, when trade picked up, population began to expand, and the papacy regained its authority. It was a long haul. 

Eventually, small, highly unstable fiefdoms evolved into more stable monarchy-ruled nation states. Urban centers slowly arose in Italy, populated by merchant and trade classes able to defend themselves. Money was replacing land as the medium of exchange, and increasing numbers of serfs were became freed men. The Suda, the comprehensive 10th century AD Byzantine Greek reference work mentioned earlier, was produced during this later period.

With the advent of Christianity came God’s messengers, winged angels who descended from heaven to announce God’s will. 

As representatives, and representations, of the power and glory of God, angels have wings, and hold globes and crosses. Aspects of their depiction derive from the Greek and Roman representations of Victory, but their actual portrayal is altogether different.

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        Virgin with child apse mosaic, Hagia Sophia.

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Early Christian depictions of angels show them with a halo, and dressed in male clothing typical of Antiquity: a long, wide-sleeved tunic covered with a pallium, or long cloak, worn draped diagonally across the chest or thrown over the shoulders. Angels don't appear in female garments until the the late medieval period; the draped cloak all but disappears into a small drapery worn like a shawl, and the tunic exaggerates into an elegant tight-sleeved gown with a high waist. The artistic popularity of antique models during the Italian Quattrocento meant that angels began to resemble female Victories, although the Christian context leaves no doubt as to their identity.

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        Archangel Gabriel, 6th - 7th century AD. Mosaic Kitio (Cyprus), Palagia Aggeloktisti monastery © ARR.

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The Trecento, the14th century in Italian culture, is considered to be the beginning of the Renaissance in art history. Trecento is Italian for 300, short for "mille trecento," or 1300, which refers to the 14th century.

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         14th century Trumpets L'Eclettico - Giotto, lo "stile italiano" del Trecento.

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The Quattrocento, the 15th century, is viewed as the transition from the Medieval period to the age of the Renaissance, principally in the cities of Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice and Naples. Quattrocento is Italian for the number 400, in turn from millequattrocento, Italian for the year 1400. The period 1400 to 1499 is collectively referred to as the Quattrocento. This was a truly momentous time in the history of culture and art.

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        Detail of the Fra Angelico Annunciatory Angel. Quattrocento 15th century, between circa 1437 and circa 1446.

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        Sandro Botticelli, The Annunciation ,15th century Painting Galleria degli Uffizi,  Florence, Italy Photo RMN Agence Bulloz.

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        Carlo Braccesco, Triptych, central panel of The Annunciation c1490 - 1500 painting on wood. Musée du Louvre, Paris. Photo RMN Jean-Gilles Berizzi.

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        Guido di Pietro, known as Fra Angelico. The Annunciation 15th century Fresco Museo di San Marco, Florence, Italy Photo Alinari Archives, Florence, Dist RMN Nicolo Orsi Battaglini.

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The Cinquecento is the 16th century in Italian culture.  

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        Fra Bartolomeo, The Marriage of St Catherine of Siena. 1511. Cinquecento 16th century. Louvre Museum. 

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        Fra Bartolomeo, Detail of an Angel, The Marriage of St Catherine of Siena. 1511. Cinquecento 16th century. Louvre Museum. 

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The Seicento is the 17th century in Italian culture.  Allegorical Paintings appear in these two centuries, the 16th and 17th.

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     Giovanni Battista Gaulli, called Baciccio (1639 - 1709) . Seicento 17th Century Drawings of  Putti.

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The Settecento is the 18th century in Italian culture. 

1726, 28 October, Jonathan Swift, Irish writer and clergyman, publishes Gulliver's Travels, or Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships.

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            Frontispiece, Gulliver's Travels by  Jonathan Swift,  published 28 October 1726.

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1776, 4 July, The United States Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall) in Philadelphia.

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DONATELLO & RAPHAEL

Putto disappear during the Middle Ages; they revive during the Quattrocento, after a very long nap!

The Putto Party Revival is generally attributed to Donatello, in Florence in the 1420s, although there are some earlier manifestations, namely the tomb of Ilaria del Carretto, sculpted by Jacopo della Quercia in Lucca. 

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        La sculpture du Quattrocento: Amor-Atys, 1430-1450, cire perdue, Bronze, Donatello (Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi), Florence, Italy.  

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Donatello (Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi,  Firenze 1386 - circa-Firenze 1466)  essentially reinvented Putto by instilling their classical forms with new Christian influences. He made them more decorative, and less involved, and he made them neotenous and charming. They appear in groups as musician angels, carry draperies and wardrobes in religious contexts, accompany mythological figures and serve them on picnics and outings in the country, get into mischief, fall asleep wherever and during important speeches by others. Donatello single handedly gave putti an entirely new life with a distinctly new character, whether they were standing or sitting or bathing or sleeping.

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        Annesso alla sala di ercole, soffitto di Vasari, e marco da faenza, "festina lente" (Go Quickly Slowly). Putti riding a Tortoise.

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In the ancient classical world, the putti were Eros Jr. and his younger brother, Homeros, Aphrodite's and Phanos's children, responsible as a Family for arousing the energies of creation and the propagation of the world.

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        Due spiritelli (dalla Cantoria del Duomo) Putti, 1439. Cire perdue, Bronze, Donatello (Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi), Florence, Italy. 

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The Renaissance form is simpler and more down-to-earth; Raphael paints them as relaxed and curious. Putti now have gender, yet represent innocence. They are playful, sometimes irresponsibly, and sometimes express overtly erotic sexuality. Putti are seen in groups but as often as not, they're also seen solo, as Homeros Cupid, no longer a genderless child, but still winged, and now carrying big brother Eros's bow and arrows; Putti emerge as a conflation of the polarity inherent in the duality of Homeros and Eros.

 

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

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171209 MAGAZINE Suit Yourself™ International Magazine #45 Putti Party Part 2. 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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