Expressions of a Lover - Jacob Cline

This gallery features works which depict romantic relationships in varying situations, from normal expressions to severe, surreal depictions of love between partners. I have featured works which display proof of love as well as works depicting it outright. These pieces range from examples of real life expression to fictional tales showcasing it. 

The Taj Mahal is unlike the other pieces in this particular gallery because instead of showcasing a depiction of romance, it serves as a testament to it. Made of ivory and white marble, this mausoleum was commissioned in 1632 by emperor Shah Jahan, to be the tomb of his favoured wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The pointed domes surrounded by small towers and built upon peaking arches has become an icon in popular culture and the Taj Mahal itself an almost household name.
This piece by de la Vega serves as both a vivid depiction of love between two partners as well as a historically accurate timepiece, as the subject matter of the piece dates it back to about the same year it was created. The lovely, rich colours and lighting effects serve two functions- creating a realistic portrayal and emphasizing the separation of the bride and groom into the foreground, when compared to the darker figures of the officiant and the witnesses present.
This piece by Lucas Cranach the Elder displays a perhaps darker side of romantic relationships between partners. The first thing one will notice about this piece is the frankly disturbing expression on the man's face. While joyful, yes, it also does appear to be slightly sleazy and a bit mischevious. The title, coupled with the stature of both figures and the man's devious expression leads the viewer to believe that the female figure pictured is particularly young. While no longer condoned and in fact illegal in most modern societies, child brides and such are a certain fact of the past in many countries.
This French piece by Renoir shows us a romantic relationship in a pure and blissful state. In this piece, we can see a couple enjoying themselves with a dance, apparently so entertained that they have themselves been caught up in the moment, as evidenced by the man's hat upon the ground and the woman's joyful and unreserved expression. The piece uses soft colours and lighting to emphasize the joy and lightheartedness of the moment depicted while also providing a certain aspect of realism.
This piece by Rex Woods is a vivid and colourful depiction of the more playful and ordinary side of romantic relationships. A very realistic piece in both theme and visual style, Woods depicts an average man out on a date with his sweetheart at the zoo. Engaged in transaction with the peanut vendor, we can see the man enjoying himself with his wife beaming beautifully on his arm. The detail in colour and lighting is exquisite, and the child and parent viewing the zebras as well as the monkey in the background sets the entire theme of the moment into place.
This next piece is a sculpted statue of Pygmalion and Galatea, likely depicting the moment Pygmalion returns from prayer to Aphrodite to find that she had granted his wish and brought his lovely work to life. The story of Pygmalion is an innocent and lovely one which is both a surreal and heartwarming piece of fiction and this piece of work on display in the British Museum is a lovely testament to that. In the piece itself, we can see Pygmalion staring adoringly up at the figure of his new wife, with what appears to be either their son Paphos or daughter Metharme peering out from behind her figure. The shape of the piece draws the eye in a triangle, a classic technique in art.
A metaphor for the union of soul and desire, "Cupid and Psyche" is another piece of fiction which inspired many artworks, including this piece. In it, the goddess Venus becomes enraged at Psyche for receiving worship while Venus goes unworshipped and so she instructs her son Cupid to make Psyche fall in love with something hideous, but Cupid scratches himself with his own dart and falls in love with her. This piece depicts the romance resulting from that, specifically their moment of reunion after her experiences in the underworld. The piece has a classic triangular theme, with the figures illuminated and the surroundings painted in darker colours to emphasize the subject matter and set them into the foreground.
Another portrayal of the darker side of romance, this piece is actually the first piece of a watercolour tryptich which tells of Paolo and Francesca da Rimini from Dante's epic Divine Comedy. Both married siblings-in-law, the two share an adulterous kiss, inspired after reading of Sir Lancelot's forbidden love. Once again, the main figures are triangular in composition, bringing the viewer's eye through the painting. Various objects can be seen strewn about which adds a bit of detail to the piece outside of the flowing clothes on the figures.
This piece by Jacques-Louis David depicts a scene from Les Aventures de Télémaque, which is loosely based off The Odyssey. In this particular scene, Telemachus, son of Odysseus, must woefully depart his lover Eucharis as it is his duty as a son to set out on a search for his father. This scene depicts that farewell. The classic triangular composition is used along with a very dark background which creates contrast emphasizing the subject matter in the foreground.
This piece of photography displays romance in its twilight, as a fitting end to this gallery. In black and white, the contrast of the clothing worn against the natural surrounding and the carriage, horse, and child in the background creates an emphasis on the couple that is the focus of the piece.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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