Back then, Rich or poor, Royal or clergy, everybody got their own cute Romantic paintings. here are 15 most erotic and romantic paintings of all time. People couldn’t get more emotional thinking about how a canvas can mean the world to them. Prior to the digitization of the world, love still existed. It was there even when the cameras were not. How did people back then cherish their love? How did they solemnize their bond and preserved its sweet memories? Well, love doesn’t need technology to stay immortal. Couples in the good old days got beautiful portraits of themselves to celebrate their relationship.
When two souls unite in love and harmony, their bond is protected by the universe itself. Love just happens. It can’t be started or stopped. And there is truly nothing more pure than love.
How just some strokes on a canvas could make them and their togetherness immortal. For some, it was also a matter of joy and harmony. Without complaining even once about sitting for hours, couples would get their portraits done. No wonder why some of them still exist. Even with them not being around, their love is still present in the air, with its magic. As we move forward, we’ll know more about some of the most talked-about couple portraits that defied the rule of time and became eternal.
Table of Contents
- The Lovers by Rene Magritte
- Dance in the Country by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
- The Honeysuckle Bower by Peter Paul Rubens
- The Jewish Bride by Rembrandt
- La Surprise by Antoine Watteau
- The Kiss by Gustave Klimt
- The Birthday by Marc Chagall
- Self Portrait as a Tehuana by Frida Kahlo
- Le Printemps (Springtime) by Pierre-Auguste Cot
- In Bed: The Kiss by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
- A Romance by Santiago Rusignal
- Lovers by Pablo Picasso
- Le Sommeil by Gustave Courbet
- The Farewell of Telemachus and Eucharis by Jacques-Louis David
- Love Letters by Jean Honore Fragonard
The Lovers by Rene Magritte
The masterpiece that was painted on the canvas in 1928, beautifully captures the essence of any typical relationship. We come across a couple, with hidden faces. Even with their hidden faces, Magritte claims that ‘nothing is concealed in the painting’. Both of the individuals are embracing each other’s presence in their life. The oil painting comes to life with its hard-hit strokes. We seem them kissing each other, while they are under a veil. Shadows are the medium chosen by the artist to let us guess what is happening even under the veil.
The distinctive characters of their face like nose and structure are painted wonderfully. Colors play an essential role in setting the tone of the painting. The use of red color in the dress of the woman can be seen as a symbolic element. Often associated with love, red may be a device used by Magritte to reflect emotions in the painting. The theme of confusion makes this one of the most romantic paintings memorable for us. It leaves us to question whether anything is wrong. Yet we still embrace the love between the two humans, proving the skills of the painter. Even in mystery lies the solid feeling of love and peace.
Dance in the Country by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Celebrating the love between a man and a woman, this painting appears to be a joyous reflection of them. Renoir tries to capture the smiles and dance of the couple and succeeds, as well. Contrast is a major element of the painting. While the woman stands in a faded light-colored dress, we see the man in a dark suit. Both figures appear too different from each other, yet choose to be together. Impression style is used to draw the intimacy between two people. Soft brush strokes allowing a better blend of the colors. The face of the lady is painted completely which may point out her happiness and pride in this intimate gesture with the man. Passion and love are the themes of the painting. This painting is the third one of the dancing portraits made by Renoir.
The Honeysuckle Bower by Peter Paul Rubens
Rubens was decorated as a prominent figure in the period called the famous Baroque period. This particular painting holds a significant position in not just the history of art but also in the life of Rubens. The painting was completed in 1609, the very same year when the artist got married to his love. The portrait has the couple seated decently and doesn’t show them moving much. The highlight of the painting can be the couple’s hands.
A gentle touch of their hands portrays intimacy and warmth. The painter deserves appreciation for his ability to use brilliant skills to paint dramatic and high-class clothing. The dressing plays a crucial role in letting us know that the couple is a high society couple. It also has the theme of gender and love. While the man hardly smiles, his wife seems cheerful and happy, implying the different approaches towards the love between the two genders. Being a self-portrait, Ruben is able to capture himself in the painting. The setting is that of a garden which is a symbol of joy, peace, and love.
The Jewish Bride by Rembrandt
During his last years, Rembrandt paints this portrait to reflect on his understanding of love. The painting finds its home in the museum of Amsterdam. Rembrandt uses his genius mind to paint Isaac and Rebecca on a canvas. The painting left its impact on not just ordinary people but also the legendary artist, Vincent Van Gogh. As per his letters, he was “reduced to tears in front of it”. Both of the subjects are dressed richly. A beautiful portrayal of emotions can be noticed in the painting. While both of them are physically close, they do not look into each other’s eyes.
We see them lost alone at the moment. They are so mesmerized by their intimacy that they even forget to look at each other. Almost nothing can move them. Being an oil painting, the skills of Rembrandt do complete justice to his visionary idea. As critics say, the painting remains one of the most important romantic paintings of all time.
La Surprise by Antoine Watteau
Watteau, who comes from the land of love, captures the kinds of love, precisely. His understanding of love is passionate and intense. Unlike most couple portraits, we see three figures in the painting, instead of two. The lady is carefree and submits herself completely to the arms of her lover. Both of them embrace each other while kissing. However, the third figure is not so much in love. He is holding his guitar. Even though he is trying to play the guitar, his focus is on the passionate couple. On the other hand, a couple is unaware and carefree of his presence.
They just can’t notice him playing guitar. The guy sitting alone realizes that even his music can’t reach the lovers’ ears. He is there with his tunes alone. This kind of portrayal depicts the use of the theme of contrast. While two persons are in love, the guy sitting on the same bench is not in love. This can also be seen as use of realism.
The Kiss by Gustave Klimt
The painting came out somewhere between 1907-1908, becoming the most famous painting made by Gustave Klimt. His mosaic inspired masterpiece can be seen as a result of his journeys in Italy, where he came across the style. Thanks to the selection of the color, gold, this period was also referred to as his ‘golden phase’. Intimacy is shown by the way the individuals are locked with each other. The resemblance seems spiritual.
A man kisses the woman’s cheek, she shies away. The painting is still present in Vienna’s Museum. With thousands of admirers flocking every year, its fame only increases. The painting doesn’t let us see the face of the dominant man but gives the spotlight completely to that of the lady. They embrace each other as if they have seized. Their embrace seems to have become eternal.
The Birthday by Marc Chagall
Like his romantic paintings, Chagall’s life was filled with love and warmth as well. He was a one-woman man who fell in love with Bella, who later went on to become his wife. He describes her as his inspiration. Talking of Bella and Marc’s love story, we can’t forget to mention ‘The Birthday’.
This was the painting that he painted just before their marriage and thus holds a significant value in his life. This sets out to be a wonderful self-portrait of the artist and his lover, Bella. While Bella is given full spotlight, an artist himself doesn’t really show much of himself. We can reflect on his love for his muse and how much she mattered in his life through the stage sharing in the painting. The style used is that of expressionism. The setting is quite normal and yet sets out to be unique as it showcases happiness and joy present in the bond of love.
Self Portrait as a Tehuana by Frida Kahlo
Also called ‘Thinking of Diego’, this self-portrait came out in 1943. The painting’s emotions are much more complex than the rest of the romantic paintings. It is applaudable to notice how Frida is able to execute such a sophisticated line of thought on canvas. Frida’s life was not filled with much love and warmth. She resided alone with her dreams and thus painted her own self. Unlike other famous romantic paintings, this one came after a painful separation between the artist and her lover. After her divorce, Frida still couldn’t give up the thoughts of her love, Diego.
The positioning of Diego at the forehead of Frida is vital. Frida does this to depict how she can only think of her lover and ex-husband. He was a womanizer and didn’t ever commit to their marriage. Even after getting cheated on, her love for Diego didn’t reduce at all. She has painted a spider web around her head probably to signify that only Diego resides inside her body and mind. The use of Tehuana, a traditional dress worn by her in the portrait, contrasts with her emotional state. Despite her sadness, she produces various romantic paintings that earned her reputation among admirers and also critics.
Le Printemps (Springtime) by Pierre-Auguste Cot
This portrait by the great French artist depicts the freshness and tranquility of love. The painting is set out in the woods where an embracing couple is alone, swinging. Released in 1873, this portrait earned fame and also the reputation to Pierre Auguste Cot. It captures young love and its beauty. Young lady’s hands are wrapped around her lover’s neck, while he admires her pretty face. Her white dress signifies the purity of love.
It is also the depiction of love itself is the most spiritual experience. The most unique feature of the painting can be the sunlight falling behind the couple. It is painted beautifully and is almost unreal. The bright and cheerful colors used to justify the title of the painting. Flowers and the natural setting around add the theme of nature wonderfully to the painting. Its fame is linked to its journey from France to the USA, where a businessman purchased it.
In Bed: The Kiss by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
A key Post-Impressionist figure in nineteenth-century France, many will recognize his glamorous and glitzy posters of the Moulin Rouge. However, this portrait of his was critically acclaimed. It can be seen as a critic’s favorite art piece. The painting shows two women lying in bed and kissing each other passionately.
They cuddle as they embrace each other’s presence. Shadows and lines are effectively used to signify them kissing and cuddling. These women are deemed to be sex workers who want to escape the reality of their lives through this one kiss. The artist was highly fascinated by the French lifestyle and its dark side. Some saw this work of art merely as a sensual and also erotic portrait. However, it belongs to the wall of fame.
A Romance by Santiago Rusignal
Rusignal was a famous Spanish artist who used various styles and themes to show his love for art. Some of his admirers are legends themselves. For instance, Pablo Picasso was touched by his modernist style of paintings. This portrait shows a woman playing the piano while a man stands by her.
The painting can be seen as a simple one with its domesticated setting. The woman is lost in the moment as she plays the piano while the man is lost as he listens to her tunes. Both have a calm and also composed face which shows a very relaxed environment. The love between them is music. His paintings are so moving that we can even imagine the music in a painting. Colors used are faded to add a nostalgic tone to the portrayal.
Lovers by Pablo Picasso
One of the few names on this planet that needs no introduction is that of the renowned artist, Pablo Picasso. Released in 1923, this particular portrait became an example of romance and romantic paintings. As the painting was released after the First World War, the period saw a sad and dull environment. The oil painting holds a soothing tone in it. The color scheme has been given greatest importance among all the characteristics.
Picasso chose to use Green, Yellow, and also Red as the painting’s prominent colors. These add a bright and cheerful essence to the masterpiece.The couple occupies a large portion of the frame implying their dominance. Their hands are placed on each other’s body parts which shows their intimacy in a romantic gesture. Owing to the craze of the neoclassical period, the painting was well-received among not just the audience but the critics as well.
Le Sommeil by Gustave Courbet
This portrait is the onset of Gustave’s interest in erotic art. He always showed interest in using erotic figures in his creations to give his romantic paintings a significant effect. The portrait of two naked ladies lying in the bed captures the same-sex romance and its beauty. They both are locked to each other and their facial expressions are worth noticing. Both seem intense and passionate. However, their face also has a painful expression implying their harsh love story.
The use of the white color of bodies is symbolic. As white is often linked to the color of purity, their lovely portrait justifies its morality. In an attempt to prove the passion of the subjects’ love, Gustave made them look more realistic. It won’t be wrong to term this painting a skillful representation of love and also romance.
The Farewell of Telemachus and Eucharis by Jacques-Louis David
Jacques brings in the beautiful and also mythological figures of Telemachus and Eucharis to this masterpiece. There is a melancholic expression on the faces of the subjects. As the title suggests, the painting justifies their facial expressions. Telemachus keeps his hand on the thigh of Eucharis, while she hugs him with sadness on her face.
Telemachus is the son of Odysseus, who loves Eucharis. Both are passionate lovers. However, Telemachus has to leave the comfort of his town and lover to fulfill the responsibility of being a son. He has to go on a search for his missing father. Colors are used to draw the contrast element. The red and blue dresses strike majorly with the flesh colors of the subjects. The sad but passionate romance makes us love the artistic skills of Jacques.
Love Letters by Jean Honore Fragonard
This giclée print delivers a vivid image with maximum color accuracy and exceptional resolution. The standard for museums and galleries around the world, giclée is a printing process where millions of ink droplets are “sprayed” onto a high-quality paper. Jean uses this technique effectively to showcase his artistic skills. It shows the couple cuddling. It can be seen as breaking stereotypes as well. The man sitting beside his lover has beautiful and adorable facial expressions. He adores her beauty. The lady is reading something and is also blushing because of her lover’s gaze.
As we come to an end to our list of famous couple portraits, we learn how love and romance are integral elements of human nature. The very basis of art is love. Nothing in the world can happen without the magic of love.
It takes time for us to finally find our soulmate but when we do, we are ready to give them everything we got. That one person whose mere presence makes your day. An old couple slowly walking down the road, while holding each other’s hand, makes all of awestruck.
Art is the soul of a society. We immortalize emotions, memories, and also values through art forms. What can be an any better way to make our love memories eternal than using romantic paintings as a medium? Even the greatest artists couldn’t ignore the romantic side of art. Romance is all about longing and dreaming. Humans have gifted the precious gift of emotions and thus we should not let it go in vain. Feeling these emotions can change everything for us. Art rightfully captures intimacy also. Be it fictitious characters, animals or humans, art captures the love between all of them. Henceforth, never undermine the power of art and love. Life would never remain the same without them.