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Brushstrokes of Love

RWC tutor Gabriela Santiago discusses a few paintings depicting love.

The Kiss- Gustave Klimt 

The theme of love has been portrayed in art for centuries, either through the depiction of romantic couples or by featuring scenes of love and romance. The timeless expression of this theme in romantic masterpieces makes it fitting to explore in February, the month dedicated to love.

The Birthday- Marc Chagall 

Marc Chagall, a Belarusian and French artist considered an early modernist, created The Birthday, which might initially strike viewers as an unusual painting. The presence of a floating man with a twisted neck and the predominant use of Cubist or Expressionist styles contribute to this impression. However, the artwork is, in fact, a portrayal of Chagall and his wife, Bella. Executed a few weeks before their marriage, The Birthday reflects Chagall's description of "love" as the primary color in his paintings. This sentiment is vividly conveyed through his dream-like depiction of himself, floating and twisting while kissing his future wife. Holding a bouquet of flowers, Bella also appears to lift off, adding to the surreal ambiance. The ordinary setting, contrasted with the fantastical portrayal of the couple, captures the euphoric essence of their love.

The Swing- Jean Honoré Fragonard

Jean-Honoré Fragonard, a French artist, created The Swing, an iconic French Rococo oil painting. Commissioned by a courtier, the artwork portrays him and his mistress. The woman is depicted in a lavish gown, her slipper airborne as she swings. Gazing down at her lover, he admires her from below while leaning against the statue's pedestal. The setting, a garden in 18th-century France, is a romantic and discreet getaway—a leisurely escape. The symbolism of overgrown plants and an abandoned rake in the foreground suggests that love cannot be entirely confined. Cupid makes a silencing gesture, sharing a secret among the lovers. The young man appears infatuated with Cupid's arrow. This playful scene, with its whimsical atmosphere, contributes to the theme of romance, making The Swing a notable work in the context of love.

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