Arts Everyday Living: Escaping Social Distancing– Art of Valentine’s Day—In Love With Love





Ah l’amour!!!  Here’s a special holiday Art Circle to celebrate the joy, the passion, and endurance of love, both visually and in writing.  The featured artists constitute an international cast: Austrian Gustav Klimt (1862-1918); Frenchmen Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), Edouard Manet (1832-1883), Carolus-Duran (1837-1917) and Rene-Xavier Prinet (1861-1946); Spaniards Raimundo Madrazo (1841-1920) and Santiago Rusinol (1861-1931); Italian Francesco Hayez (1791-1882); Brits John Callcott Horsley (1817-1903) and Frederic Leighton (1830-1896); and Dutchmen Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) and Rembrandt (1606-1669).


Raimundo Madrazo, The Love Letter, 19th century, oil on canvas, Prado, Madrid, Spain

There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.

George Sand (1804-1876)


I like the cool serenity of his portrait.

Kay Oshel


John Callcott Horsley, The Morning of St. Valentine, 1865, oil, Walker Art Gallery, National Museums, Liverpool, UK

Had I been in love, I could not have been more wretchedly blind.  But vanity, not love has been my folly.

Jane Austen (1775-1817)


I was interested to see that he’s credited with the first Christmas card.

Kay Oshel


Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Dance in the Country, 1883, oil on canvas, Musee D’Orsay, Paris, France

When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew.

Arrigo Boito (1842-1918)


Edouard Manet, At the Pere Lathuille, 1879, oil on canvas, Musee des Beaux Arts, Tournai, Belgium

The first thing necessary to win the heart of a woman is opportunity.

Honore de Balzac (1799-1850)


My favorite painting of the group.  It’s one of the few paintings where the man’s face is more detailed than the woman’s; he seems really focused on gazing into her eyes and courting her.  They seem in a private world even on the cafe terrace with the waiter’s gaze.  The man’s hands are much sharper (especially the right one) than the woman which are more loosely painted.  His left arm resting on the chair seems to encircle the woman protectively.

Kay Oshel


Santiago Rusinol, A Romance, 1894, oil on canvas, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona

I think of you so incessantly, so insistently.  The thought of you is always there.

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)


Frederic Leighton, The Painter’s Honeymoon, 1864, oil on canvas, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts

My whole life has been pledged to this meeting with you.

Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837)


I was intrigued by Leighton’s THE PAINTER’S HONEYMOON.  I think it might well be called Sympathy in Bronze and Gold…the woman’s dress, her hair, the wall paper, the fruit on the tree behind the woman, the painting behind it, the floor, etc.–all in those shades.  Something seems “off” to me about the hands on the table. Is the hand on top of the woman’s hand hers or his?  Either way, I don’t see how the hand connects naturally to a arm.

Kay Oshel


Carolus-Duran, The Kiss, 1868, oil on canvas, Palais des Beaux Arts de Lillie, Lille, France

Love….ever unsatisfied, lives always in the moment that is about to come.

Marcel Proust (1871-1922)


Francesco Hayez, The Kiss, 1859, oil on canvas, Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

True love cannot be found where it does not exist, nor can it be denied when it does.

Torquato Tasso (1544-1595)


THE KISS seems much like an illustration in a book where you can supply the story….illicit lovers, from their clothes–the woman seems to belong in a castle while the man does not, they seem to be saying goodbye, the room on the left seems a bed chamber with rumpled items.

Kay Oshel


Gustav Klimt, The Kiss, 1907-1908, Oil and gold leaf on canvas, Galerie Belvedere, Vienna, Austria

Love conquers all things; let us too surrender to love.

Virgil (70 B.C.-19 B.C.)


I love the Klimt which I’ve seen in Vienna….the lovers seem to dissolve into each other…flowers seem to drift down to form the mound on the floor.

Kay Oshel


Rene-Xavier Prinet, Kreutzer Sonata, 1901, oil on canvas, Private Collection

You and I, it’s as though we have been taught to kiss in heaven and sent down to earth together, to see if we know what we were taught.

Boris Pasternak (1890-1960)


Excerpt from Vincent van Gogh letter, dated March 18, 1888, to fellow artist Emile Bernard


Vincent van Gogh, Two Lovers Fragment, 1888, oil on canvas, Private Collection

The process of falling in love at first sight is as final as it is swift in such a case, but the growth of true friendship may be a lifelong affair.

Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909)



Rembrandt, The Jewish Bride, c. 1665-1669, oil on canvas, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

In all the world, there is no heart for me like yours.  In all the world, there is no love for you like mine.

Maya Angelou (1928-2014)



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