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Love and Art, Do We Need to Choose One?

by Roland Lefevre

Love and Art, an Inseparable Bond – Key Highlights from World-Renowned Artists
Love is a subject often linked with art throughout the ages and this can be seen in artworks and artistic creations the world over. Read on to find out more on this intriguing subject.

Image via https://www.srilankanartgallery.com/

A Significant Theme in Art

Love has always been an essential part of art history as artists explored both the joys and torrents it brought to those around them or themselves. Such depictions have been seen through the centuries be it in ancient sculptures or works on canvas, while digital media is prominently used today as well.

Universally Relatable

What is fascinating is that while these creations feature distinct elements and different mediums, they are universally relatable even though they may be from different countries. For example, portrayals of love in Sri Lankan art that can be seen on websites like the Sri Lankan Art Gallery can contrast to those on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, USA; that said, though these artworks vary, they address essential truths that can be relatable to the viewer no matter where they come from. To get a better understanding, below are some of the most famous artworks that express love in diverse forms.

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt

Amongst the most famous expressions of love in art, “The Kiss” (1907) by Austrian, Gustav Klimt portrays an embracing couple locked in each other’s arms as they merge, almost becoming one. On display at the Austrian Gallery Belvedere in Vienna, the artwork features a blissful expression of peace on the face of the woman. Certain art historians believe that the lovers in the painting are Klimt and Emilie Flöge, his long-time partner.

The Kiss by Auguste Rodin

This is another famed artwork titled “The Kiss” (1929) and it is a well-known marble sculpture by Frenchman, Auguste Rodin. While it portrays two lovers in a passionate embrace, interestingly, the couple in this sculpture are part of a tale of forbidden love. They represent Francesca and Paolo from the Divine Comedy by Dante; they were both married, and this kiss records the moment of bliss just before Francesca’s husband discovers the couple and kills them.

Pygmalion and Galatea by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Dating to 1890, “Pygmalion and Galatea” is a work by renowned painter and sculptor from France, Jean-Léon Gérôme. This work depicts the love of another kind when the artist falls in love with what he has created. It is based on the story found in Metamorphoses, Book X by the Roman poet, Ovid; a sculptor by the name of Pygmalion is entranced by Galatea, the name he gives to his creation which represented the ideal woman. He prays to find a woman like her, and the painting captures the moment when the statue is brought to life by the goddess Venus as the artist and his creation share a kiss.

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