The Best Romantic Artworks for Valentine’s Day

Anyone need a little love?

Presented by Tiffany copy-USE THIS


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Robert Indiana, Love red/blue (1990).
Courtesy Christie's New York.
Marc Chagall, Birthday (1915).
Courtesy MoMA.
Antonio Canova, Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss (1777).
Courtesy Musée du Louvre, © 2010 Musée du Louvre / Raphaël Chipault.
Koh Sang Woo, The Kiss II (2010).
Courtesy James Freeman Gallery.
René Magritte, The Lovers (1928). Courtesy MoMA.
René Magritte, The Lovers (1928).
Courtesy MoMA.
Louis Jean François Lagrenée, Mars & Venus, Allegory of Peace (1770).
Courtesy J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.
Auguste Rodin, The Kiss (1901–4).
Courtesy Tate London.
Marc Chagall, Lovers among Lilacs (1930).
Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Christopher Wool, Untitled (You Make Me) (1997).
Courtesy Tate London.
Jean-Honoré Fragonard, The Happy Accidents of the Swing (1767–68).
Courtesy Wallace Collection, London.
Constantin Brancusi, The Kiss (1916).
Courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.
Jim Dine, Two Big Black Hearts (1985).
Courtesy deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum.
Sandro Botticelli, Venus and Mars (ca. 1485).
Courtesy National Gallery London.
Gustav Klimt, Der Kuss (The Kiss) (1908). Courtesy of the Klimt Museum.
Gustav Klimt, Der Kuss (The Kiss) (1908). Courtesy of the Klimt Museum.

As everybody knows, love can take hold of a person in the weirdest and wildest of ways.

It does not always come bearing red roses or perfect smooches.

At times, like in that crazy scene in Punch Drunk Love, love comes all too un-gallantly.

Sometimes it is hidden from view (see 7 Legendary Mistresses in Art History); sometimes it leads straight to erotica (see How Erotic Can Fine Art Get Before it Becomes Pornographic?); and sometimes it makes you want to reach out and meet someone (see Miranda July Releases a Messaging App With a Message).

In this lead-up to Valentine’s Day, whether yours is a drive-by kind of love or the starting score in a game of tennis or one for the history books, we at artnet News just want to say: we salute lovers everywhere. May you all find a gallery corner of your own to do as you like.

Until then, remember John Lennon, who, once upon a time, during the installation of an exhibit at the Indica Gallery in London in the winter of 1966 climbed to the top of a white stepladder and showed the world that entering love’s pearly gates, improbably enough, was as easy as reading some writing on a wall—although, in this instance, the wall was a piece of suspended canvas, and the writing was really just a single word, and the block letters so small, they had to be read with a magnifying glass. (More popularly it’s known as Yoko Ono’s Ceiling Painting [Yes Painting] [1966/1998]; Japan Society presented it this century.)

The main thing to keep in mind is that when it comes to deciding upon a piece of art or grabbing hold of somebody’s hand for the first time, the word that’s almost never helpful is love, since love is alarming and, well, subject to misinterpretation. The only word you need in matters of preference and selection (with apologies to John Lennon and Yoko Ono) is yes.

To these 15 of the best romantic artworks, we say yes.

Love and bonbons,
artnet News


P.S. For more about the art of kissing, see Tino Sehgal and Rafaël Rozendaal Pucker Up in Time for Valentine’s Day.

P.P.S. For more yeses from Yoko Ono, refer to an excerpt such as this from her Let’s Piece I (Spring 1960): “Let everybody in the city think of the word ‘yes’ at the same time for 30 seconds. Do it often.”

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