(b. 1412, Borgo a Buggiano, Pistoia, d. 1461, Firenze)

Lavabo (detail)

Sagrestia dei Canonici, Duomo, Florence

A puer mingens (Latin, plural pueri mingentes) is a figure in a work of art depicted as a prepubescent boy in the act of urinating, either actual or simulated. The term puer mingens comes from the Latin puer, meaning "boy", and from the Latin mingens, the present participle of the verb mingere which means "to urinate".

The puer mingens could represent anything from whimsy and boyish innocence to erotic symbols of virility and masculine bravado. one can find depictions of a puer mingens "making water" in works in church lavabos whose waterspouts are positioned in front of naked boys' groins (thereby giving the illusion that their urine has been transformed into water). Pueri mingentes were frequently incorporated as fully functioning statues whose pipes shot forth streams of water out of the statues' penises. One of the most famous examples of this is the Manneken Pis in Brussels.

Buggiano's lavabos in the sacristies of Florence Cathedral show two pueri mingentes.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.