“Art must be an expression of love or it is nothing” Marc Chagall
“People should fall in love with their eyes closed” Andy Warhol
“The more I think about it, the more I realize there is nothing more artistic than to love others” Vincent Van Gogh
Love, this great force that drives us- that we live and some of us even die for. How can we explain romance, what is it that triggers passion and arouses our senses, what is it that makes us vulnurable, and can drive us mad?
The complex and mysterious concept of Love, has been explored by artists throughout history, trying to express and capture the great muse in words, paintings, photographs, film and music.
Here are Candid’s top ten love themed artworks;
1. Love, is a famous sculpture by American Pop artist Robert Indiana. There are several versions, however the most famous one is located in New York City, USA. The original design was actually for a Christmas card (1964) for the Museum of Modern Art. The design has also been reproduced countless times in popular culture.
2. The Kiss (1907-1908) is a much loved painting by Austrian painter, Gustav Klimt.
The painting displays an embracing couple, surrounded by patterns in the robes. The style was inflluenced by the arts and crafts movement and Art Nouveau. The mediums are oil and gold leaf on canvas.
3. The Lovers is a painting by Belgian surrealist René Magritte, created in 1928. The painting depicts a veiled couple embracing and kissing. Of course this painting causes a lot of speculation- yet the most common interpretation is: “Love is blind”.
4. Kiss II, created in 1962 by Roy Lichtenstein, was among the first “comic strip” paintings for which the pop artist became instantly famous, and held the record for highest auction price for a Lichtenstein painting.
5. Then He Spent the Night with Her Embracing by Marc Chagall. The severe stroke of vivid blues and greens lure the viewer into what seems like a magical world brought to life through vibrant and passionate imagery.
6. Siesta, by Vincent Van Gogh, was painted in 1890 while the artist resided in St. Remy. Van Gogh was known for his admiration for the working class. A couple naps in the shade of a haystack during the day. The composition and brush strokes are light and flowy capturing the calm of the present moment.
7. The Embrace by Egon Schiele. Examining the painting closely, there is an instant harmony reflected between the two lovers, who are Egon Schiele himself and his wife, Edith Harms, laying on a white sheet, their bodies intertwined- a sensual embrace. The curves in this painting add to the erotic moment. It was painted a year prior to his death.
8. Erotic Couple on a Chair, created in 1880 by Francisco De Goya. The Spanish artist who was known for his realistic, and penetrating portraits. Goya who became deaf after a serious illness, reflects his emotional and bitter state in his work. Erotic Couple on a chair, shows two lovers having sex on a chair. It is very straight forward, and probably highly provocative at the time.
9. Made in Heaven, by Jeff Koons. This is one of a series of nine controversial paintings showing the artist having sexual intercourse with his wife at the time, Italian porn star La Cicciolina. The paintings, massive in size, and graphic in nature, debuted at the Venice Biennale in 1990. However, comparing it to Goya’s painting, a century earlier, it is astonishing that it was mostly dismissed as pornographic, and tasteless. If we look past the sex and hipocracy in our society around this subject, what we see is a passionate yet tender moment between two lovers.
10. Love, by Andy Warhol. This series created by the pop artist in 1983, includes a portfolio of screenprints on Rives BFK paper. Each print depicts a nude couple embracing one another in a different position. The sequence of images suggests a narrative, representing a different movement leading up to sexual intercourse. While the images are characterized by passion, lust and sexuality, they are not as much pornographic, as they are romantic.