THE GREATEST LOVE STORIES IN ART HISTORY
From the mythological to the historical, here are art history’s greatest love stories. For more on the topic of love in art, see https://www.artsy.net/feature/love.
- •Joseph Wright, ‘The Corinthian Maid,’ 1782-1784, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.According to Greek myth, the origin of art is a love story. Distressed that her boyfriend was leaving town and afraid she might forget his face, Didutades traced the outline of his shadow on a wall while he slept, creating the first line drawing. https://www.artsy.net/artwork/joseph-wright-the-corinthian-maid
- •Antonio Canova, ‘Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss,’ 1777, Musée du LouvreAn early example of the power of “True Love’s Kiss,” Cupid awakens his sleeping beauty, Psyche, with this embrace. This story also foretells the narrative of the loathsome in-laws, as it was Venus, Cupid’s mother, who induced Psyche’s deep and death-like sleep to begin with. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psyche_Revived_by_Cupid%27s_Kiss
- •Frida Kahlo, ‘Frida and Diego Rivera,’ 1931, San Francisco Museum of Modern ArtOne of art history’s most iconic artist marriages is that of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The romance began when Kahlo was an art student, seeking advice on her career from Rivera, the already famous Mexican Muralist who was 20 years her senior. While their union was notoriously tumultuous, this painting of the couple shows them sweetly holding hands. https://www.artsy.net/artwork/frida-kahlo-frida-and-diego-rivera
- •Alfred Eisenstaedt, ‘VJ Day, Times Square,’ 1945, Gallery MOn August 14, 1945, photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt captured a kiss between strangers who were celebrating America’s victory in the war with Japan. Since then, many men and women have claimed to be the smooching nurse and sailor, though the exact identity of these momentary lovers remains a mystery. https://www.artsy.net/artwork/alfred-eisenstaedt-vj-day-times-square
- •Marina Abramović, ‘AAA-AAA,’ 1978, Lisson GalleryBetween 1976 and 1888, Marina Abramović and Ulay were romantic partners and artistic collaborators, pioneering endurance-based performance art. The artists ended their relationship by traveling the Great Wall of China from opposing ends, meeting in the middle after 90 days of walking, and then saying goodbye, agreeing never to meet again. This was not the case, however, as Ulay made a special appearance at Abramović’s MoMA retrospective, a poignant encounter that went viral across social media.
- •Yasumasa Morimura, ‘Ingrid Bergman 2, Casablanca,’ 1995, Alex Daniels - Reflex AmsterdamSince the early 1980s, Yasumasa Morimura has been embedding himself into iconic images appropriated from art history, mass media, and popular culture. In this photograph, Morimura takes on the costume of Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart of the 1942 film Casablanca, arguably one of the best romantic movies of all time. https://www.artsy.net/artwork/yasumasa-morimura-ingrid-bergman-2-casablanca
- •Barnaby Furnas, ‘Romeo and Juliet 6,’ 2014, Marianne Boesky GalleryPerhaps the most famous - and tragic - love story is that of Romeo and Juliet, captured here by New York-based artist Barnaby Furnas. Furnas imagines the death of the young lovers, illustrating Shakespeare’s words: "For never was a story of more woe/Than this of Juliet and her Romeo." https://www.artsy.net/artwork/barnaby-furnas-romeo-and-juliet-6
- •Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Jasper - Studio N.Y.C.,’ 1958, San Francisco Museum of Modern ArtArtists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns are often credited as the first openly-gay couple in the art world, though they only reportedly dated for six years. Rauschenberg photographed Johns during their romance, capturing him here with a drink in hand and his artwork behind him. https://www.artsy.net/artwork/robert-rauschenberg-jasper-studio-nyc
- •Nikki Katsikas, ‘Jeanne-Claude & Christo,’ 2014, Louis B. JamesMarried artists Jeanne-Claude Marie Denat and Christo Vladimirov take on the impossible together, from wrapping entire islands in fabric to installing over 7,000 orange gates in Central Park. A fun-fact about their partnership: Jeanne-Claude and Christo share a birthday, June 13, 1935. https://www.artsy.net/artwork/nikki-katsikas-jeanne-claude-and-christo
- •Mari Kim, ‘Princess Series: Cinderella,’ 2014, Shine Artists LondonThe “Eyedoll” is a recurring character in Mari Kim’s work, featured here as the heroine of the classic rags-to-riches love story, Cinderella. Giving a slight twist to this beloved tale, Kim adds a Chanel logo to the princess-to-be’s glass slipper. https://www.artsy.net/artwork/mari-kim-princess-series-cinderella
- •Addie Wagenknecht, ‘I quit, Part 2,’ 2014, Bitforms GalleryAs Valentine’s Day is for both cynics and romantics, we end this list of “The Greatest Love Stories in Art History” with this photograph by Addie Wagenknecht. https://www.artsy.net/artwork/addie-wagenknecht-i-quit-part-2-1