Category Archives: Valentine’s Day

Painted lovers

It’s Valentines Day and what’s a fine way to celebrate this special day with your loved one than to go on a virtual museum trip featuring some paintings about love. Take time to observe each piece and feel yourselves transported to another dimension. I am, already….

P.S.  This post is inspired by the same title of the Exhibition currently ongoing at the National Gallery in London.

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Bacchus and Ariadne, circa 1682
~ by Luca Giordano (Italian, 1634-1705)
Oil on canvas
Kedleston Hall near Derby, UK

The god of wine with his exotic and noisy retinue comes to the rescue of King Minos’s daughter who’s been churlishly abandoned by Theseus on the Greek island of Naxos. Despite her crucial role in helping the Athenian prince kill the minotaur in the labyrinth of her father’s palace at Knossos on Crete, his ship can be seen sailing away. The coronet of stars floating above Ariadne’s head refers to her constellation in the sky which was to be her wedding gift from Bacchus who has fallen in love with her at first sight. (National Trust)

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Paolo and Francesca da Rimini,1867
~ by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (English, 1828 – 1882)
Watercolour, gouache and gum arabic over pencil on 2 sheets of paper
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Daughter of Guido I da Polenta of Ravenna, Francesca was wedded in or around 1275 to the brave, yet crippled Giovanni Malatesta (also called Gianciotto; “Giovanni the Lame”), son of Malatesta da Verucchio, lord of Rimini.[1] The marriage was a political one; Guido had been at war with the Malatesta family, and the marriage of his daughter to Giovanni was a way to solidify the peace that had been negotiated between the Malatesta and the Polenta families. While in Rimini, she fell in love with Giovanni’s younger (and still hale) brother, Paolo. Though Paolo too was married, they managed to carry on an affair for some ten years, until Giovanni ultimately surprised them in Francesca’s bedroom sometime between 1283 and 1286, killing them both. (wikipedia)

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El Beso (The Kiss), 1859
~ by Francesco Hayez (Italian, 1791-1882)
Oil on canvas
Pinacoteca de Brera, Milán

The painting represents a couple from the Middle Ages, embracing while they kiss each other. It is among the most passionate and intense representations of a kiss in the history of Western art. The girl leans backwards, while the man bends his left leg so as to support her, simultaneously placing a foot on the step next to him as though poised to go at any moment. The couple, though at the center of the painting, are not recognizable, as Hayez wanted the action of the kissing to be at the center of the composition. In the left part of the canvas shadowy forms lurk in the corner to give an impression of conspiracy and danger. (wikipedia)

John Everett Millais: The Black Brunswicker.

The Black Brunswicker, 1860
~ by John Everett Millais (English, 1829-1896)
Oil on canvas
National Gallery

The painting depicts a Brunswicker about to depart for battle. His sweetheart, wearing a ballgown, restrains him, trying to push the door closed, while he pulls it open.

Working Title/Artist: The Storm Department: European Paintings Culture/Period/Location: HB/TOA Date Code: Working Date: 1880 scanned for collections

The Storm, 1880
~ by Pierre-Auguste Cot (French, 1837-1883)
Oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Probably referred to the novel “Paul et Virginie”, first published by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre in 1788. Evidence of this interpretation comes from the specific motif of the couple running from the rain and covered by a billowing drapery corresponding to a famous and often illustrated scene in Paul et Virginie:

One day, while descending from the mountaintop, I saw Virginie running from one end of the garden toward the house, her head covered by her overskirt, which she had lifted from behind her in order to gain shelter from a rainshower. From a distance I had thought she was alone; but upon coming closer to help her walk I saw that by the arm she held Paul who was almost entirely covered by the same blanket. Both were laughing together in the shelter of this umbrella of their own invention.” (wikipedia)

82Lovers in Green, 1914-1915
~ by Marc Chagall (Russian-French, 1887-1985)
Oil and gouache on paper, mounted on cardboard
Private collection

NGI 2358

Hellelil and Hildebrand, The Meeting on the Turret Stairs
~ by Frederic William Burton (Irish, 1816-1900)
Watercolour and gouache on paper
First exhibited in 1864

This richly coloured watercolour painting depicts the ill-fated lovers Hellelil and Hildebrand, meeting on the stone stairway of a medieval tower. The princess and her bodyguard had fallen in love but her father regarded the young soldier as an unsuitable match for his daughter and ordered his sons to kill him. The painting captures the couple’s poignant final embrace. Burton was inspired by the story of the ill-fated lovers told in an old Danish ballad. The poem had been translated into English in 1855 by Whitley Stokes, a lawyer and philologist, and friend of the artist. (National Gallery of Ireland)

F10.2Aphrodite
Aphrodite, Ares & Eros/ Venus, Mars & Cupid, 1st Century AD
(Mural found in the ruins of Pompeii)
Fresco, Imperial Roman IV Style

Venus (Aphrodite) reclines half-naked in the arms of Mars (Ares) the god of war. Their sons, the winged Cupid (Eros) and wingless Formido (Phobos) (?), play with the arms of the god.

 

 

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The Embrace, 1893
~ by Gaston la Touche (French, 1854 – 1913)
Pastel, 1893
Musée des Avelines, Saint-Cloud

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The Lock, 1777
~ by Jean-Honoré Fragonard (French, 1732 – 1806)
Louvre Museum

The painting shows two lovers in a bedroom, with the man locking the door. (wikipedia)

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Le Baiser (The Kiss), 1969
~ by Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973)
Oil on Canvas
Musee National Picasso

The painting shows two heads joined by a single line occupying the entire pictorial space. Picasso does not hesitate to deform the faces in order to bring them closer together: “Of the two, he makes but one, to express the intimate fusion that takes place during the act of kissing.” The noses mould themselves into a mutual contour; the mouths bite each other; the woman’s eyes, both of which are visible even though she is shown in profile, have moved up her forehead, which is tilted back. (pablopicasso.org)

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A Huguenot on St Bartholomew’s Day, or simply “A Huguenot”, 1852
~ by John Everett Millais (English, 1829-1896)
Oil on canvas

It depicts a pair of young lovers in an embrace. The familiar subject is given a dramatic twist because the “embrace” is in fact an attempt by the girl to get her beloved to wear a white armband, declaring his allegiance to Roman Catholicism. The young man gently pulls thearmband off with the same hand with which he embraces the girl. The incident refers to the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre in 1572 when French Protestants (Huguenots) were massacred in Paris, leading to other massacres elsewhere in France. A small number of Protestants escaped from the city by wearing white armbands.

The_Kiss_-_Gustav_Klimt_-_Google_Cultural_Institute
The Kiss, 1908–1909
Gustav Klimt (Austrian, 1862-1918)
Oil and gold leaf on canvas
Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna

A perfect square, the canvas depicts a couple embracing, their bodies entwined in elaborate robes decorated in a style influenced by both linear constructs of the contemporary Art Nouveau style and the organic forms of the earlier Arts and Crafts movement. The work is composed of oil paint with applied layers of gold leaf, an aspect that gives it its strikingly modern, yet evocative appearance.

goodbye-alfred-guillouAdieu! (Goodbye!), 1892
~ by Alfred Guillou (French, 1844-1926)
Oil on canvas,
Musee des Beaux-Arts de Quimper

The last kiss given by a father to his drowned son

Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet, 1884
~ by Frank Bernard Dicksee (English, 1853-1928)
Oil on canvas
Southampton, City Art Gallery

“The romance portrayed in this painting is phenomenal. They have eyes closed as to be completely lost in the moment. Juliet’s arm on his neck pulls him in, even as his hand on her arm prevents this. The frustration and tragedy in the entire play is present in the painting. The passion is such, that romeo cannot even pass into the room before they embrace. To risk ALL for love. It is the ultimate expression of devotion. The desire to be loved is inherent in all humans whether or not one will (or can) admit this. The story that this painting eludes to, is a manifestation of these feelings.” -Robert Plank
(wikimedia commons)

A Cake for Valentine

“Let me buy you flowers!”, H announced. I love flowers but I prefer to take in their beauty for free,  like when they are cut from my garden, or when admired from someone else’s backyard or public park.  Better yet, when photographed for the purpose of keeping a digital memory of their beauty.

“Tell you what… why don’t we just spend the money on a coffee and tart, then buy a Valentine’s cake for home. I can also photograph those flowers at the shop, I prefer that”, said I with excitement, already looking forward to the coffee shop experience and the pink heart-shaped cake.

We were ambling around the Commercial Center  enjoying its indoor comfort from the rainy and windy elements outside.  Thank goodness for Malls like this, we thought.  We are not really Mall-goers but in bad weather like this. it becomes a haven for window shopping and people watching.

  It’s the morning of Valentine’s Day and we noticed that it’s only the men queueing up  at the flower shop.

The flowers..

the pinks, the whites and the hearts

  True Love knows no age..

and here’s a box of chocolates from Jeff de Bruges shop

 the beautiful red roses that look so good to eat than smell

 

The coffee shop experience.  Well, it literally shook our hearts when this little square thing suddenly vibrated madly and red lights on it started flashing.  It’s to alert us that our paninis are ready!  I think it’s absolutely foolish that coffee shop operators have to go this far – wasting their money on gadgets that could even harm their customers with heart problems!

The pink Valentine cake we brought home.  Oh, that’s a framed photo of H and me.  I thought, in order to practice on  Romance photography, I needed to add something about us but the only photo available that moment was taken sixteen years ago.   Oh well….

 

.. and pear tart so deliciously good!

Valentine’s Day morning rush

The day before Valentine’s Day, I read that there was  a Conference about Edward Hopper’s art at the library near our town.  Edward Hopper is one of my favorite painters and the last time I went to see his exhibition at the Grand Palais, the queue was painfully kilometric so when I found out about this conference, and possibly an exhibition of his art would follow and lasts for several days here in this remote little place,  I thought it was too good to be true!

And being Valentine’s day, I suggested to H that we start the day of love with a quick fix of Art and Culture!

So right after breakfast, we drove towards the Conference/Exhibition venue not realizing that a Valentine morning rush on the High Street was ongoing!

I must have photographed this corner a lot of times!  I get curious about this narrow 19th century building sandwiched by more modern buildings.  New housing developments are always rising up in this town we call a dormitory town for people working in Paris.


The medieval church, just one of the few remaining old structures left standing.

But you can see a scattering of traditional houses like this one

At the High Street, there must be a high number of roast chicken orders expected this Day of Hearts.  Cheaper than eating out!

Business as usual at the Town Hall.

And this is the Valentine’s Day rush I was talking about!

People doing their last minute shopping of flowers and hearts!  Glad that there are loads of shops open for the purpose..

“Juste deux minutes!” (Two minutes only!)…This flower delivery man seem to have the right to block the road of his van for Two Minutes as he drops his delivery from one flower shop to the other!  Luckily, we were able to drive through while he was protesting…

 

We went back home empty-handed as the Conference Venue was still closed and locked up, no sign of any exhibition whatsoever!  Maybe it was just a one afternoon meet up!  As I said, it was too good to be true!

Meanwhile, as I was getting through our gate, I noticed that my daffodil plants are looking heavy with their flower buds!

They say the first sign of Spring is the coming out of daffodils.  But, as is always the case, I won’t have the chance to enjoy the flowers as we will be off again soon…..

 “I am always planting vegetables that I never get to eat, and flowers that I never see flower.
I have always moved around the world”
~ Helen Mirren

2014 Valentine’s Day Messages – French Style

The other day, I posted here some Valentine messages which were posted on Paris billboards the previous years. It was to give you some ideas on what to write to your loved ones on this day of hearts.

I also promised to post here the selected messages for 14 February 2014.  Now, here they are. Enjoy reading!

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As this billboard illuminates our love, the current flows continuously. Let us do a short-circuit!

I am crazy about you. Paris will be yours..and mine
Our roof will be here. Marry me. … your Fern

To mix my lips into yours is the best transformation from happiness to joy. I love you.

Ever since you capsized my heart the same time as our catamaran, I am happy to wake up in your arms. Remy

Happy Valentine’s Day to the man who still takes my breath away after 46 years of marriage. I love you, Nelson Enloe.

Armelle, nothing to do this St Valentine’s day. Pack your bags, we are going to Argentina. I love you so much my heart… Edouard

Surprise! Arthur, I wanted to make this surprise, to say I love you with all my heart. Te quiero! Your little Spanish woman.

To my Viking…Who pedals like crazy to distribute the mail from my heart to all Parisians. Your wolf loves you like mad

My Pilot, as I don’t know how to say it, now I am writing it: I love you. Your co-pilot

My cuddly toy, you have warmed my heart again this 21st April. With you, my winters in Paris are like holidays in the sun. I love you. Your teletubby.

Hello Mayor’s Office of Paris. Please tell him that I am in love with him and I need him for life. Nava

We have not told everyone yet: Mathilde is pregnant!!! Kisses to the Parisians! Julien

Durand, you know that I never did the dishwashing because it would be a crime to wash those moments of sweet and savoury complicity.

Jenn, my lid. Once again, I forgot to charge my phone (oh yes!)…. but that will not stop me from saying I love you..

My Florian….It will be soon five years since we played cat and mouse…. I am happy to have finally caught you! “Miaou!!”…Your Lilie

Julien, you love whisky, you love beer, you love travelling. Luckily..me, too! I love you! Emily

For you, my flea.  I will remove this billboard, then the moon.  I love you!

Vincent, will you accept to mix your briefs and my undies on the same drawers for life? I love you. Marie

My little turkey, even if you are bald; even if you snore, even if your feet smells, even if you don’t know how to cook and you do not feel like marrying me, I love you!!

Fabien, you are the super hero of my life. Love, S

Valentine’s Day.   It is today but then, it is you I am thinking of. You would have been 79 today. Happy birthday my papa. Your daughter who loves you.

I love you, Leslie. My little Parisian with the short hair. Thank you for offering me two pretty Parisians in short skirts. Your Lulu

Mr Panda. I want to be your Ms. Panda. Do you agree? Yun (from China)

Katherine, Emma, Amy..the University of Denver sends love to our Parisian students on Valentine’s Day!

Justiiiiine!!!! One!!! year!!!!after!!!!It’s!!!!still!!! burning!!!!

Mohammed, you are the most gentle of all husbands and a great father. I love you more than you never know…Narima

To my love Patricia, 30 years of marriage have passed like a breeze on the cheek, as time ceases not, so shall my love for you always endure. Loving husband, Steve

A little reminder for Jeannette: Departure 4:55pm, Gare du Nord Station. Happy Saint Valentine!

You know mama, papa loves you so much. Charlie, 4 months

My love, yes, Valentine’s Day is a feast commercialized. But that doesn’t stop me from screaming I love you more than everything!!

Charles – Hugo, You have entered my life without leaving my dreams.

Julien come back!  Miami is good.  But Paris, it’s better.  I love you

It’s the day of Love

It’s Valentine’s Day so I thought of posting photos of couples in love to warm you up, dear lovers who are reading my blog!   Some of the photos here are a repeat of a 2010 post  but I’m adding more to prolong that excitement!

Lovers in Paris, 28 June 2010

It is the city of Romance. It is the favorite place  for honeymoons.
Couples from all over the world come here to get married. What is it that makes Paris a city of lovers?

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~~ New additions ~~

 

 

 

And my favorite of all – this a la Robert Doisneau shot!