Winged. Cherubs & Putti in Renaissance Art

Open 10:00-18:00. Closed Mon.       Al. 3 Maja 1
Known as putti in Italian and cherubs in English, the popular decorative motif of small, chubby winged boys adorns countless works of early Modern European art. This exhibition in the Main Building of the Kraków National Museum presents this phenomenon with a focus on the art of the Renaissance (mainly examples from Italy and the German lands), presenting putti in the context of the art of antiquity and early modern Europe.

The exhibition includes more than 100 objects, mainly comprising drawings and illustrations, but also sculptures, paintings, applied ceramics and fabrics from Polish and European museum collections (for example, from the Parisian Louvre, London’s Victoria & Albert Museum or the Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna). In this way, the exhibition documents the ancient origin, form, and symbolism of putti, mainly in the art of the 15th and 16th centuries. It evidences how it was that a new group of themes was introduced to the culture of the Renaissance, providing an opportunity to compete with antiquity, to reinterpret it, and to enrich it with new themes, particularly religious themes. The drawings which accompany the finished works illustrate the mechanism by which the form of the putto was perfected, not only by making studies of works from antiquity but also by drawing sketches from life. These were done especially in the circle of artists around Raphael and his students, who designed pictures and tapestries, while sculptors and ceramics decorators also made use of this inventiveness. The exhibition systematises the wide range of content expressed by images of putti in a particular way; from an intuitive interpretation of antiquity and readings of Greek and Roman texts to poetic visions inspired by antiquity, and even to independently formed allegories, one master of which was, for example, Albrecht Dürer. Thus, the putto instructs us in brief on the essence of the Italian Renaissance and its reception in Europe, including in Poland, as well as providing an opportunity for contact with the output of the most important and greatest artists, which to a large degree is inaccessible on a day-to-day basis.



Open 10:00-18:00. Closed Mon. Jun 28 2024 - Oct 6 2024
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