7 Art Pieces That Speak of Love

Art Wise

That crazy little thing called “Love” moves us and inspires us in many ways. Some say it even makes the world go round. Over hundreds of years, Love and its many facets have moved artists to produce timeless works of art. While some captured the exhilaration of love, others captured its angst. Here are 7 of our favourites, that have captivated the world for times immemorial!

1. Kiss by the Hotel de Ville, Robert Doisneau (1950)

(Kiss by the Hotel de Ville)

Nothing exudes Parisian Romance like Robert Doisneau’s famous photo of a couple kissing in the busy streets of Paris, which became an internationally recognized symbol of young love. The identity of the couple remained a mystery till 1992, when a couple believing they were the ones in the photograph, sued for royalties. Doisneau then revealed the scene had been shot by posing aspiring actors Françoise Bornet, and her then boyfriend, Jacques Carteaud. In 2005, an original print of the photograph with Doisneau’s signature and stamp, given to Francois Bornet, was sold at an auction to an anonymous collector for €155,000.

2. The Lovers, Rene Magritte (1928)

(The Lovers)

Rene Magritte’s painting of two lovers who are kept apart unsettles and wrenches you. The fabric separating the couple has many allusions. It hints at the mysteries hidden below the surface of one’s identity. It also subverts an intimate and passionate moment into one of frustration and isolation.

3. Cupid and Psyche, Antonio Canova (1787 – 93)

(Cupid and Psyche)

Inspired by a scene from Apuleius’s Latin novel, Antonio Canova sculpted the moment when Cupid’s kiss revives his mortal lover Psyche. The couple are locked in a tender embrace as Psyche holds Cupid’s head, while he appears to encircle her. The details of this marble sculpture give it a translucent quality, while presenting a lightness to Cupid’s wings. This sculpture is on view at The Louvre, Paris.

4. The Kiss, Gustav Klimt (1907 – 08)

(The Kiss)

This passionate and iconic image of a kiss was part of Austrian artist Gustav Klimt’s Art Nouveau inspirations. The kiss and the intimacy of an embrace is brought alive with the use of authentic gold leaf and shimmering yellows. Interestingly, the artwork was considered scandalous, when it was first exhibited. The Kiss now resides at Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna.

5. The Love Seat

(Love Seat designed by Salvador Dali for his wife, Gala)

The love seat is one of the most romantic pieces of furniture, which was originally created for intimate tete-a-tetes. It allowed verbal exchanges while restricting physical contact. The seat has captured the imagination of many designers who have reinvented this chair. Salvador Dali, renowned for his surrealistic style, also created a Fuschia version of this chair for his wife, Gala. Current versions of Dali’s chair cost just under $30,000.

6. The Meeting on the Turret Stairs, Frederic W. Burton (1864) 

(The Meeting on the Turret Stairs)

A painting that throbs with the angst of love, is Frederic William Burton’s ‘The Meeting on the Turret Stairs’. Burton was inspired by an old Danish Ballad of a princess – Hellelil, whose father orders his sons to kill the bodyguard (Hildebrand) with whom she has fallen in love. The painting portrays the poignant final parting moments of the ill-fated couple on the stairs of a castle. Due to light sensitivity, the painting is open for limited viewing at the National Gallery of Ireland.

7. Le Printemps, Pierre-Auguste Cot (1873)

(Le Printemps)

Pierre-Auguste Cot’s widely successful and much replicated painting celebrates heady young love. Romance blooms in the gaze of the lovers haloed by rays of sun light. The painting revels in the rebirth of life in springtime symbolized by the flowers, butterflies water surrounding the young couple. Le Printemps can be viewed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

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