Love and romance are at the center of many of the world’s most popular myths, stories, and fairy tales. From Romeo & Juliet to La Boheme, to Cinderella, love and romance are ubiquitous. Fine art is no different: take a look at these stunning pieces of fine art, inspired by love and romance.
The Kiss by Gustav Klimt
Gustav Klimt painted the iconic “The Kiss” between 1907 and 1908 in the Art Nouveau style; it is now on display in the Belvedere Palace in Vienna. The paintings immediately preceding this piece in Klimt’s oeuvre created a scandal when they first debuted, criticized as being perverted and pornographic. This painting, on the other hand, was enthusiastically received and immediately found a buyer. It’s no surprise that prints and posters of this painting are popular around the world.
In Bed the Kiss by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Post-impressionistic painter, Toulouse-Lautrec, made this gorgeous piece of art in 1892. That name might ring a bell if you’ve ever seen the film Moulin Rouge — Toulouse was played by John Leguizamo, who portrayed him as a love-obsessed drug addict, which is not too far from the truth. Toulouse-Lautrec was a lonely man, best known for his work depicting the elegant life in Paris, and this particular piece was a flight of fancy for a man who spent most of his time around brothels.
Il Bacio by Francesco Hayez
“Il Bacio” was created in 1859 by Italian artist Francesco Hayez. It is possibly Hayez’s best-known work and is a prime example of Italian Romanticism. “Il Bacio” depicts a medieval couple kissing, and its subjects have often been referred to as Romeo & Juliet. The exquisite thing about this painting isn’t the kiss, but the details of the world. The silk on her dress, how it puckers; the details of an aging wall behind them, all serve to bring this work to life.
La Belle Dame Sans Merci by Sir Frank Dicksee
The name of this painting translates to “the beautiful woman without mercy,” and it is based on a poem by the English writer, John Keats. It’s a tale of a knight who falls under the spell of a beautiful fairy-like woman. He gives her his horse, and she kisses him to sleep, leaving him to fend for himself. While the story isn’t all that romantic, the painting certainly is! It depicts the beautiful woman leaning forward to kiss the knight, while she holds the reigns of the horse he has given her.
Pygmalion and Galatea by Jean-Leon Gerome
This painting depicts the story straight out of Ovid’s “Metamorphosis” in which Pygmalion carves a beautiful woman out of stone and brings her to life. The artist, Jean-Leon Gerome, painted it in 1890 using oil and acrylic, and it is currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. After Gerome finished this painting, he carved a sculpture of the same scene. Perhaps he was looking to bring his own Galatea to life.