Francesca Dale picks the 10 best depictions of love from the visual arts.
1. V-J Day in Times Square, Alfred Eisenstaedt
Published in Life magazine as one of the many United States celebration photos after World War II this image has grown into one of the most iconic romantic images of all time. Despite controversy over whether the photo was posed or not, it is believed mostly to be a spontaneous act!
2. Kiss V, Lichtenstein
Is she crying with joy or crying with sadness? Who knows. Meanwhile Lichtenstein’s iconic pop art masterpiece emulates love and emotion, plunging the viewer into the scene of this intimate moment.
3. The Kiss, Rodin
The adulterous Francesca is fashioned in this marble sculpture just centimetres away from kissing her husband’s younger brother in an act of adulterous love. The distance between their lips illustrates how her husband killed them both before they were able to kiss.
4. An Allegory with Venus and Cupid, Bronzino
Bronzino paints Venus as she is kissed by Cupid with many other creatures around them. The howling subject on the left represents jealousy and despair where as the boy with the roses represents pleasure and jest; thus creating a scene of conflicting emotions.
5. The Lovers, Rene Magritte
The interest of this painting is with these mysterious veils covering a kissing couple. The meaning of the veil is ambiguous but the underlying meaning that love is blind can be deduced.
6. The Kiss, Constantin Brancusi
The geometric male and female figures emphasise the unity of two lovers as they come together at both the mouth and the eye to create one body and one love as they kiss.
This painting depicts Cupid flying back to Psyche who has just foolishly smelt the forbidden flask from the Underworld. Psyche falls into a deathlike sleep just as Cupid grabs her lovingly in his arms in desperation.
8. The Kiss, Edvard Munch
Munch paints two figures’ faces merging into one as they embrace. The viewer is unable to see their eyes and thus catches them when they are completely unaware of their surroundings, stressing their intense and inaccessible relationship.
9. Le Printemps, Pierre Auguste Cot
This oil on canvas captures a romantic snapshot of a young fresh-faced couple embracing as they stare into each other’s eyes. A ray of light shines on them creating a spot light feel to the scene as the viewer spies on their intimate swing ride.
10. The Lovers, Pierre Auguste Renoir
Renoir, a key artist in the Impressionist movement, paints two lovers in a garden with the male staring at the female in adoration. Renoir paid specific attention to female beauty and sensuality in his artwork.
Images: Flickr, Heinsar E, Ras Marley, Carlos Martin, HEN Magonza, Dominic Lo, Chiari Carnabuci, James Thorpe, Petrus Agricola, Siuhong Chan, Carlos R38