Happy Valentine's Day to all! Even if you're not a big fan of the Hallmark holiday (I never used to be), this is a great time to remember and appreciate all of the types of love in your life - from and for parents, siblings, relatives, friends, even pets or compassionate strangers. But this day just wouldn't be its pink and red, glitter and chocolate-coated self without some strategically placed mushiness and PDA.
So, I've compiled for you my (personal) Top 14 Romantic works of Art. I organized them chronologically, beginning with the earliest piece, running to the most recent. Fourteen pieces for this fourteenth day of February, which might as well be Valentine's MONTH. Hope you enjoy. :)
Psyche revived by Cupid's kiss, Antonio Canova, 1787. via.
I love this piece. I got to see it in the Louvre in November 2007 and was absolutely taken with it. I believe this sculpture captures the moment when Cupid revives Psyche after she opens a box she believed to be filled with beauty (it was actually filled with eternal sleep), a trick conceived by Cupid's mother, Venus, in order to destroy their love. I love this piece and story a) because Cupid and Psyche's love is one of the -only- it seems like in Greek mythology that actually survives all odds, and b) their embrace is just so sensual! The piece has elegant flow and movement, as well as a breath of life. Their adoration is obvious from their embrace.
Painter's Honeymoon, Lord Frederic Leighton, 1864. Via
Truth be told, I just found this piece today. But I love it. Love, love, love it. The painter and his bride are sweetly nestled together, cheek to cheek, hands intertwined as he works and she adoringly watches him. His board is even tilted towards her for her to see. It's a moment of peace, affection, and shared art. How precious!
Spring, Pierre Auguste Cot, 1873. via.
A lovey double couple sharing a swing with spring in full bloom. He's smiling at her with affection, and she's simpering up at him like they're sharing a secret. What's not to...love?
Ha, see what I did there?
Putto's Kiss, Émile Munier, 1873-1895. Via.
Sweetness personified!! Two child-like putti share a hug and kiss. I love that the little girl putti has butterfly wings instead of the typical angel wings. She's obviously not sure of her interest, but he's sure of his! Good for you, little putti-guy.
The Lovers, Pierre August Renoir, 1875. Via.
Mmm, a vibrant garden landscape wrapping its luscious arms around an amorous couple...You know, a sweet, well-behaved amorous couple. Renoir's brushstrokes really dynamize, and simultaneously soften, the scenes he paints. In a few of Renoir's paintings of couples, the women are looking out at the viewer while the man is focused on her (i.e. The Engaged Couple and Dance in the Country) . I think that's really interesting that he uses a relationship between two people to engage an invisible third.
Romeo and Juliet, Sir Frank Dicksee, 1884. Via.
This painting, voted UK's 'most romantic work of art' this year, is of the famous balcony scene from our favorite tale of star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. The scene is framed by an architectural arch in this imaginary world, pulling the viewer into this secret love trist. She throws both of her arms around his neck as he leans toward her and their lips lock passionately.
I have to agree: That's a pretty darn romantic work of art.
The Kiss, Auguste Rodin, 1889. (Photo by me)
On every site that I have seen gauging the most romantic works of art, and according to most of the people I know, if this marble sculpture by Auguste Rodin isn't the most romantic piece of work, it's the second. Two seated nudes, the female's arm linked around her lover's neck and her right leg draped between his, while his right hand rests on her hip, their lip lock in the most passionate of ways! Since it appears to be a universal favorite, I decided to include two shots of it...also because I took both photos and I couldn't decide which view you needed to see more. :P
Behind the completed work in this photo you can see one of Rodin's studies for it. He obviously had this idea for a while and worked it out in quite a few studies before the finished product. This magnificent work is surprisingly kind-of situated in a corner of the Musée Rodin in Paris, perhaps not giving it it's proper due - But if you appreciate it's love message, you will appreciate it no matter where it sits.
Abduction of Psyche, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1895. Via.
It's Cupid and Psyche again! After all, what is the lover's holiday without the god of love?
For an "abduction" scene, let's face it - Psyche seems really into it. Cupid looks upward, determined, his arms wrapped protectively and confidently around his lady love. Again, we see little butterfly/moth wings on the lady to contrast the angel wings of the man! (I guess it was a known thing during this time?) She seems wrapped in ecstasy just as much as in his embrace.
The Kiss, Gustav Klimt, 1907-8. Via.
This piece reminds me of my college roommates, who hung it in their common area. An interesting abstract piece that really shows how two people cherish one another. I used to think they were cozy, snuggling in bed. Not sure if that's true or not. If so, that's a really nice, sparkly gold bed they have there. But I love how he sweetly cradles his lover's face in his hands. :)
The Kiss, Constantin Brancusi, 1912. Via.
Another Kiss! This time, even more abstract, if not primitive looking. But I think it's kinda cute. :D Not sure how Brancusi would feel about me calling his sculpture "cute," but I can't help myself. It makes me think of those little minions on the Poptart commercial or in the Despicable Me movie. Adorable, smooching little minions.
Birthday, Marc Chagall, 1915. Via.
Here, a stunned-looking little lady gets a smooch from her levitating, beyond-yoga-flexible honey. She truly seems surprised about the sign of affection in celebration of her birthday...but she shouldn't be surprised! He seems rather "head over heels" for her. ;)
Sunset, Norman Rockwell, 1926. Via.
Mew! Isn't this just the sweetest? From the daisies to the bored puppy to their little heads nestled together. Sweetest. This piece is also called "Little Spooners." I had a difficult time choosing between this, After the Prom (1957) and Four Seasons of Love (1972). But the innocence of this love was just perfectly captivating.
The Kiss, Roy Lichtenstein, 1962. Via.
Yet another kiss! And again (and without surprise), looking very into it....
Dance me to the End of Love, Jack Vettriano, 1998. Via.
The finale! Elegant and romantic like a Cary Grant movie. Two lovers face a light while others dance in the distance. It's like they're preparing for the future, for the journey of love, for walking (or dancing) into that light together. Dressed to the 9's, they're ready to conquer the world....together.
"In our life, there is a single color, as on an artist's palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love." - Marc Chagall