Throughout art history countless artists have attempted to capture the concept of love in their art. In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Artalistic has decided to present its reader’s with a resume of ten famous works of romantic art!
Romantic art: 10 paintings & sculptures
1. The Kiss by Gustav Klimt, 1908
We must pay homage to the great Austrian Symbolist painter Gustav Klimt for his painting The Kiss created 1908. This oil-on-canvas painting depicts two lovers that seem to be drawn together, unaware of their surroundings and the passing of time. It is the archetype of transcendental love.
Klimt magnifies love in art
This painting’s impact on the viewer is magnified by Klimt’s use of vivid colors and a halo of otherworldly light that projects the lovers from their lackluster background while delicately wrapping around the figures, cradling them in their eternal embrace. The Kiss is considered to be one of Klimt's most famous pieces.
2. The Kiss by the l’Hôtel de Ville by Robert Doisneau, 1950
The French photographer and champion of humanist photography, Robert Doisneau is famous for having captured this touching scene in Hôtel de Ville Square in Paris. This emblematic photograph was taken in the middle of the 20th century. It embodies photography’s capacity to capture fleeting moments, is a prime example of love in art and has become intrinsically linked to Paris and romance.
Doisneau later confessed that this photograph was indeed staged. He spotted two theatre students named Françoise and Jacques and asked them to kiss. Captured by one of the photography world’s greatest masters, these lovers have become a symbol of romantic art.
3. Untitled by Keith Haring, 1982
The multifaceted American artist Keith Haring sadly died in 1990 at the early age of 32. This untitled piece, created in 1982, reflects his talent and renown in the world of street art. This piece is a true representation of universal love. This was a recurring theme throughout his career. This piece personifies art and love, depicting two people joyously dancing around a sumptuous red heart. Haring's signature clean black lines evoke feelings of euphoria despite their simple nature.
4. The Kiss by Pablo Picasso, Juan-les-Pins 1925
What other piece could better illustrate the brilliant Spanish artist Pablo Picasso’s vision of love in art? This romantic painting entitled The Kiss is probably his most captivating and exuberant piece. Picasso’s use of explosive colors and disjointed bodies undermines the symbols and beauty that traditionally accompany romantic art. Invoking Eros and Thanatos, the two lovers devour each other in an ode to passion.
5. Self Portrait as a Tehuana by Frida Kahlo, 1943
The Mexican artist Frida Kahlo took three years to create this painting because she was going through marital problems. The piece pays tribute to her undying love for Diego Rivera, a self-proclaimed womanizer. This self-portrait also goes by two other names: Diego in my Thoughts and Thinking of Diego. Their relationship was boiling with passion - they fought, reconciled, divorced and finally remarried. This self-portrait was Kahlo’s attempt at exorcising both physical and psychological pain. It immortalizes one of the 20th century’s most controversial and legendary relationships in the history of art and love!
6. I love you by Damien Hirst, 2015
This piece by the great Damien Hirst depicts a butterfly enclosed in a heart, symbolizing elegance, refinement and the union of two souls while at the same time embodying romantic art with delicate lines. Striking shades of gold contrast with the butterfly’s iridescent fuchsia wings. Only fourteen numbered and signed editions of this remarkable piece were created.
7. The Waltz by Camille Claudel, 1889-1905
One of Camille Claudel's best-known pieces, The Waltz represents true love through its fluid movements. This sculpture captures Camille Claudel's chaotic relationship with Rodin, with whom she was madly in love. As the couple waltzes her love seems to intoxicate her so much so that she looses her balance.
8. The embrace by Egon Schiele, 1917: or the sublimation of romantic art
Egon Schiele and Edith Harms embrace each other on a crumpled white sheet, becoming one. It's simple, it's beautiful, it’s romantic art at its finest! This expertly executed piece makes use of dynamic lines in a subtle and sensual way, highlighting the intertwining bodies. This romantic painting gives us an intimate look into the creative world of this Austrian artist whose work was heavily inspired by Klimt.
9. The Lovers by René Magritte, 1928
This surrealist oil-on-canvas was painted by René Magritte in 1928 and is one of the most famous pieces depicting love in art. There are many possible interpretations of this work, which is on display at the MoMA in New York. A barrier of fabric prevents the intimate embrace between two lovers, transforming passion into isolation and frustration. Some interpret this work as capturing man’s inability to truly know one another, even our most intimate companions.
10. The Kiss by Rodin, 1882
A monumental marble sculpture, The Kiss was commissioned by the French government for the 1882 World’s Fair in Paris. The two lovers represented are the heroes, Paolo and Francesca, from Dante’s Divine Comedy. This emblematic, romantic piece of art uses supple, smooth formes in a dynamic composition to depict joy and sensuality. This piece is presently on display at the Rodin Museum in Paris.