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A common theme in art is love. From the beginning of time, artists have portrayed love in their work. From photography to street art to paintings, we are surrounded by it. To celebrate love and art we put together a list of some iconic pieces of art that celebrate love.
COUPLE EATING FISH AND CHIPS BY CHRIS KILLIP (1976)
Shot by British photographer Chris Killip on Whitley Bay in Tyneside, United Kingdom, this photograph could be considered an unlikely candidate for this article. However, Killip catches a moment of not just love but companionship. An older couple passing the day in the sun with each other while enjoying a fish and chip dinner. The photograph reminds us that love is not always glamorous but can be beautifully ordinary. What could be more romantic?
The late Chris Killip is renowned for documenting regular people in Great Britain. But more than that, his work has become a portrayal of humanity. His career spanned over 3 decades, documenting the working class society, going about their day. Chris Killip passed on the 13th October 2020.
LOVE BY ROBERT INDIANA (1967)
Robert Indiana’s large-scale ‘LOVE’ sculptures have appeared in cities the world over. The original rendering was displayed in 1970 at the Indianapolis Museum of Art in Indiana, USA.
Although the large-scale pop art sculpture has become associated with, well, Love, the original meaning was less about romance and Valentine’s day and more about Christmas.
That’s right, the stacked set of seraph letters were in fact designed for a Christmas card commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art back in 1965.
But the inspiration came from Indiana’s Christian Scientist upbringing: “I, as a child, was raised as a Christian Scientist,” Indiana explained in a letter to an art collector, “and the world ‘LOVE’ was indelibly imprinted in the mind, for there is that slightly different phrase, ‘God is Love,’ on every front wall of every one of Mary Baker Eddy’s houses throughout the world.”
Since then, ‘LOVE’ has taken on many forms from stamps to paintings, banners, tapestries and prints. Not to mention translated into a number of different languages, including Spanish, Russian and Hebrew.
However, over the years, the late Robert Indiana developed a love-hate relationship with the series, famously stating: “It was a marvelous idea, but it was also a terrible mistake”.
THE KISS BY GUSTAV KLIMT (1907-1908)
Austrian artist Gustav Klimt painted ‘The Kiss’ during the height of his Golden Phase. The artwork portrays a couple in an embrace, set in an otherworldly garden.
The embrace is intimate and passionate. The man leans over the kneeling woman to kiss her, clasping her face in his hands. She welcomes his affection, pulling him closer with one arm around his neck while she clutches his hand with hers.
Although the artist never disclosed the identities of the couple, it is widely believed that they are depictions of the artist himself and his companion Emilie Flöge, a Viennese fashion designer. The painting highlights one of Klimt’s artistic interests: capturing and painting intimate moments between two people.
THE KISS BY EDVARD MUNCH (1897)
Edvard Munch, famed for painting ‘The Scream’, portrayed the passion of love in this expressionist painting.
The indistinguishable faces are locked together in a passionate kiss, representing the “ideal of unity between woman and man” according to art historian Reinhold Heller. As well as representing a “loss of individuality, a loss of one’s own existence and identity” hinting at Munch’s death.
According to the Museum of Modern Art, the painting, “Embodies Munch’s ambivalent feelings about the rituals of intimacy.”
THE LOVERS II BY RENE MAGRITTE (1928)
French surrealist artist depicts a veiled couple in an embrace in his painting ‘The Lovers II’.
It is impossible to say for certain the artist’s inspiration behind ‘The Lovers II’. In fact, he seldom explained his motivations behind his work. However, many have speculated over the symbolism of the painting and the most common interpretation is that love is blind.
HERE ARE SOME OF OUR FAVOURITE LOVE-INSPIRED ARTWORK AVAILABLE NOW AT UP & COMING ART:
ME TO YOU BY UTOPIA
‘Me to You’ depicts poetry and love – a common theme in Utopia’s artwork. The blue hair mirrors the ocean waves and the soft, pink lines on the cheek symbolizes youth and delicacy.
Utopia began creating art at a young age when he graffitied the streets of São Paulo in Brazil. He gained international recognition in 2008 when he became a regular invitee to street art festivals and exhibitions. Since then, his work has evolved and he now creates canvas work alongside his street art creations.
CLOSURE BY UGNE POUWELL
Ugne Pouwell created ‘closure’ when she captured an intimate photograph of a statue located in the Tate Britain museum. “As I walked through the gallery I couldn’t resist the beautiful emotions of this statue. A feeling not from this world. The white marble statue’s surface looked so pure and fragile. No darkness can be found in this composition.” Closure captures the moment that closure in a relationship takes place. The moment two people become one and their love is “closed”.
AMOR PROPIO BY JOSE CACHO
‘Amor Propio’ or ‘Self Love’ is simply about love. Loving others, loving your surroundings, but especially loving yourself.
Cacho associates love with the safety instructions we hear when we get on a plane: “in case of emergency or lack of oxygen, first put on the oxygen mask yourself, before you help the person next to you”. Take care of yourself first. Love yourself first before you love someone else.