How Romantic Stories Were Depicted in Paintings

After Wallector’s article on Erotic Art, which made a sensation, here’s a dedicated space to Romantic Art, the one that does not need to translate itself into pure physicality. Find below an array of works of art that depict the most engaging and impassioned love stories of art history.

Since the beginning of time, artists have narrated the events and passions of human beings; literature and mythology are inexhaustible sources of narration. Let us begin our journey through the best love stories of all times from the latter.

So here’s a round-up list of top paintings of love in art. The theme of “love” is one of the most commonly used metaphors in all artistic mediums. Claude Monet, Edouard Monet, Raja Ravi Varma, Renoir, etc. are a few of the great artists who have created the greatest works of art using love as the central theme.

What was the impact of romanticism? 

The Romantic style of painting stimulated the emergence of numerous schools, such as the Barbizon school of Plein-air landscapes, the Norwich school of landscape painters; the Nazarenes, a group of Catholic German and Austrian painters; Symbolism (eg. Arnold Bocklin 1827-1901) and the Aestheticism movement.

The most influential exponents of English figurative romanticism during the Victorian Age were the members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, co-founded by William Holman Hunt (1827-1910) and by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-82), noted for The Annunciation and other works.

Apollo and Daphne by Lorenzo Bernini

Bernini represented the most intense moment of the story, the one in which Apollo grasps the nymph and her hair and body start transforming into leaves and branches of a laurel oak. The work of art, exhibited at the Galleria Borghese in Rome, was commissioned by the Cardinal Scipione Borghese to Gian Lorenzo Bernini and was realized in 1625. The story was taken from Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

Andromache Mourning Hector by Jacques Louis David

Andromache Mourning Hector is a painting produced by Jacques Louis David in 1783. Achilles killed Hector who was Andromache’s husband and thus she’s mourning over his death while the child gave comfort to his mother. The painting can be viewed at Musée du Louvre, Paris.

Dance in the Country by Renoir

Renoir’s lovers are swept away by the music, dance, and summer’s heat – and by each other. Their al fresco meal has been abandoned in disarray; a hat (his?) has tumbled to the ground, and she’s only just managing to keep hold of her fan as he grasps her by the wrist and waist. 

The whole painting seems to sway. And the crowning glory of this beautifully soft and sultry composition, with the hint of feather beds to come, is the smile on the girl’s lovely face. Candidly directed straight towards the viewer, it says that she couldn’t be happier.

The Kiss by Klimt

Wrapped up in each other, the lovers are enfolded in their everlasting kiss. 

Their love is out of this world (the only location is this ethereal meadow of rich cloth and jewel-bright paint) and even a little celestial: their heads are haloed in gold leaf. There’s no sense of bodies beneath all this opulence, except for her elegant toes. 

Bare feet, flowers in their hair: no wonder hippies loved Klimt’s masterpiece and it remains the most famous kiss in painting. A perfect square of a canvas, a perfect fit of a couple: it is just what young lovers often feel, dovetailed together in their kiss as the world dissolves into a shimmer around them.

Key takeaway

Romance depicted from any art form is intense as it was specifically derived from the artist. 

Romanticism embraced individuality and subjectivity to counteract the excessive insistence on logical thought. Artists began exploring various emotional and psychological states as well as moods. The preoccupation with the hero and the genius translated to new views of the artist as a brilliant creator who was unburdened by academic dictate and tastes. 

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