Don’t be stupid, cupid!

As always in the middle of february, Valentine’s is simply unavoidable. Wherever one turns, one is struck by the sight of hearts and cupids. Historically speaking, one of the most known  cupids or cherubs are the ones that we often see replicated on mugs and interiors. What most people don’t know is that those commonly known angels are actually a detail of a larger altarpiece called The Sistine Madonna, painted by Raphael for the church of San Sisto, in Pacenza, Italy.

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Raphael, The Sistine Madonna (1512)

Raphael was a famous painter during the high renaissance, in the early 16th century. He was up there with Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Botticelli.  All those artists had enormous impact on that time in history. But their impact and art would be nothing without the support of the catholic church, with its endless wealth. The church commissioned most of the art, other commissioners were wealthy aristocrats such as the Medici family or other families such as the Borghese.

Another fun fact is that in Italian, when saying that something is fancy or bourgeoise, you say ”borghese”. As in the family name Borghese, that had enormous wealth.

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