Valentine’s day is close, and you would probably like to give your special person something that shouts “love” without actually naming it, to express what you feel in a way that no one has ever done before.
Well, there are some artists that, by painting a gaze, a hand or a hug that, without any other words, have been able to tell everything there is to say about love.
Let’s have a look at five of the most representative love paintings: maybe you’ll be inspired by them!
1. Marc Chagall – The birthday
This is a love painting that reflects all the care, affection and warmth the artist felt for his wife. For Chagall, “Love and fantasy go hand in hand”, and this masterpiece shows exactly what this means: the scene is domestic, a woman is cutting her birthday cake and her husband brings her flowers and kisses her, flying to reach her lips, in an outburst of tenderness and passion.
2. Pierre-Auguste Cot – Le Printemps
This work was first presented at the 1873 “Salon”, captivating and hypnotizing many visitors, as it does today at The Met. This is a painting that represents a young love, the first flirting experiences of a chaste and innocent couple. The look on the girl’s face and her pose, whose arms are trustfully holding the boy’s body, express the curiosity and the desire to discover this new, blossoming love.
3. Georges Barbier – Illustrations for “The songs of Bilitis”
Les Chansons de Bilitis is a collection of lesbian poetry by Pierre Louÿs, who published it asserting it was the translation of the poems of a Greek poetess called Bilitis.
Georges Barbier, one of the greatest illustrators of the Twentieth century, took care of the visual part of the collection, contributing to the creation of a masterpiece. Even though it’s not actually a love painting, this illustration – along with all the others of the collection – deserves its place in this article.
4. Suzuki Harunobu – Lovers Walking in the Snow (Crow and Heron)
This is also not a love painting, but a love woodblock print. Created during the Edo period, this work depicts a young couple under an umbrella: there is no one else in the painting, as if they were the only people in the world, sharing this little moment of proximity.
Black and white are the dominant colors in the artwork, creating a balance between man and woman, cold and warmth. Winter is usually a trope that evokes death and elderly people, but this time it is almost as if it were a part of this young couple’s love story.
5. Gustav Klimt – The Kiss
We could never forget the love painting of all love paintings: Klimt’s The Kiss! But maybe not everyone knows that, when it was first exposed, people were concerned it would be as “obscene” as the artist’s previous work, the “Vienna ceiling” series. Luckily, despite the sensuality and lasciviousness of the figures portrayed, it was well greeted, and is still one of the best-known artworks in the world.