Art is gorgeous in itself but when it depicts one of the strongest and most desire emotions it can be sublime.
Art without a doubt captures all the emotions we experience at least once in our lives, and love isn’t the exception. Actually, it might be one of the biggest motifs in the history of art. But what exactly is love and how is it portrayed in art? Love is more than infatuation and giddy joy, it's a tsunami that drags you under waves of conflicting emotions. Love is glorious and our partners become the rock we hold onto so we keep our heads above water and remain slightly sane.
The following twenty paintings will take you on a journey that will seem familiar to you, so let's get lost in this emotion that has the power to shatter our soul into a million pieces.
It all begins with infatuation. It’s that joyful moment where the skies are perpetually blue and the light soft and dewy. In this process you are immersed in the possibilities of love and these paintings show the beauty of the intimate moments we share with that person and how these will become the foundation upon which the relationship will be built.
Love Letters - Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1771-72)
Lovers in a Landscape - Pieter Jan van Reysschoot (1740)
Garden with Courting Couples: Square Saint-Pierre - Vincent Van Gogh (1887)
A Romance - Santiago Rusiñol (1894)
Once the illusions begin to fade into reality, affection comes knocking on our doors. It is those moments in the early dawn that you're snuggled up in bed and you feel the warm press of their bodies against yours. It is a deep-rooted emotion that is difficult to erase once the roots have taken hold.
In Bed - Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1892)
Le Printemps (Springtime) - Pierre-Auguste Cot (1873)
Lovers - Pablo Picasso (1923)
The Kiss - Francesco Hayez (1859)
Pleasure and ecstasy are always there in the background. The following paintings show those heated moments where we forget where we are and who we are, all we long for is that embrace.
Paolo and Francesca da Rimini - Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1867)
Lovers - Egon Schiele (1909)
The Naiads - Gioacchino Pagliei (1881)
Le Sommeil - Gustave Courbet (1866)
Sadly, we’re passing to that phase of the cycle where things get dark. Whenever a relationship has dug its roots deep into our hearts we are bombarded by moments of uncertainty and insecurity of what will happen and if things will come to an end. It doesn't matter if the relationship is blooming or if it is crumbling, here is the fear that change is imminent and that love may fade in the future.
Woman Leaning on Her Elbows - Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1875-85)
Melancholy - Edgar Degas (1874)
La Mélancolie - Louis-Jean-François Lagrenée (1785)
Nevermore - Paul Gauguin (1897)
Whoever said love lasts forever lied. Even in the greatest love stories something happens, which ends up killing the romance, call it death or another love interest. Here we see the loss and sorrow in their full splendor.
The Farewell of Telemachus and Eucharis - Jacques-Louis David (1818)
The Kiss - René Magritte (1928)
Melancholy - Edvard Munch (1894)
Napoleon's Farewell To Josephine - Laslett John Pott (19th century)
Love isn’t only happiness and affection, as you can see, it’s a cycle with ups and downs. These paintings show us that one of our greatest traits as a species is our ability to give up everything in the name of love.
Here are other paintings you’ll love: