(b. 1483, Urbino, d. 1520, Roma)

The Sistine Madonna (detail)

Oil on canvas
Gemäldegalerie, Dresden

The most famous angels of our days seem to be the two winged putti below Raphael's Sistine Madonna. They are almost half a millennium old. Their continuing success and present popularity are hard to explain. They combine the sacred with the profane, childish mischievousness with high art. They are easily reproducible and media-friendly. And they have in turn inspired similar angel pairs.