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Iain Brunt founder of Antiques.co.uk and gonemodern.com

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home blog Art and Love


Posted by Gill Jones on 31/01/2014

We’ve touched on the topic of Valentine’s Day once before and if you’re still struggling with gift ideas then perhaps you can be tempted with a piece of artwork. Valentine’s Day sees an awful lot of cringeworthy cards, with crass pictures and crude messages. Chocolates and cake are all very well, but with Easter coming and Christmas just behind us there may be too much emphasis on consumption.

Art can represent love so profoundly and in a myriad of different ways. Art down the ages has given us a gamut of different emotions from love to lust, from anxiety to devotion, from uncertainty to innocence. From lust to love art work from down the ages has expressed love more profoundly than any other.

Love has been captured beautifully down through the centuries and the examples below are some of the best.

A kiss
We have the passion of sweet lovers in Toulouse-Lautrec’s “In bed: The Kiss,” a stolen kiss perhaps with Frencsco Hayez in his interpretation of this expression of love. In sculpture we have a more passionate demonstration of feeling with Rodin’s expression of “The Kiss,” holding each other in a passionate embrace they are impervious to the world around them.

Perhaps you prefer something a little more profound in the shape of the three ages of man by Titian which depicts the three stages of life. A pair of young lovers embrace beneath a tree, but ahead of them lies death illustrated by two skulls. The painting is about love, the passage of time and how nothing lasts forever.

In Frans Hals's Wedding Portrait of Isaac Abrahamsz Massa and Beatrix van der Laan we see a couple who are clearly happy to be in each other’s company, but are they really married? There are no dramatic embraces or kisses, but the facial expressions and their pose suggest a great love between the two.

London City Airport & London sculpture trail
Most of these illustrations of love are out of our budgets, but there is no reason why we cannot find a perfect piece of artwork that illustrates exactly to us how you feel for your lover. If you take a look at the London sculpture trail or the current displays at London City Airport, you may find something that’s profound enough to hit the right spot. The artists featured range in style from Helaine Blumenfeld to Ana Tzarev, from Anthony Quinn to Hamish Mackie. The sculptures around London are quite breath-taking too and even if you don’t fancy taking a piece of sculpture home with you, you may find inspiration just by looking. After all, you may even be inspired enough to create your own piece of artwork in the name of love.

In the meantime if that sounds a little too adventurous then do drop by and take a look at the variety of artwork on display around London City Airport and see if there is something that catches your eye. It’ll certainly beat a dreary Valentine’s card hands down.