Fall in Love With 8 of Art History's Most Romantic Masterpieces (2024)

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By Kelly Richman-Abdou and Margherita Cole on August 20, 2023

Fall in Love With 8 of Art History's Most Romantic Masterpieces (1)

Throughout art history, the concept of love has attracted artists from all walks of life. Depicted in different kinds of styles and rendered in a myriad of mediums, the amorous concept continues to captivate viewers time and time again.

While there are countless alluring examples of love in art, we've compiled a collection of eight pieces that stand out from the rest. Whether highlighting a marble kiss, a glistening gold embrace, or even big block letters, these heartfelt masterpieces prove that art and love are a perfect match.

Table of Contents hide

1 Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss by Antonio Canova

2 The Kiss by Francesco Hayez

3 Dance in the Country by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

5 The Kiss by Auguste Rodin

6 The Kiss by Gustave Klimt

7 The embrace (Lovers II) by Egon Schiele

8 Love by Robert Indiana

Here are eight of the most renowned romantic paintings and sculptures and forms of love art throughout art history.

Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss by Antonio Canova

Fall in Love With 8 of Art History's Most Romantic Masterpieces (2)

Antonio Canova, “Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss,” 1793 (Photo: Stock Photos from peacefoo/Shutterstock)


Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss


Antonio Canova


1787–1793 (First version)




61 in x 66 in (155 cm × 168 cm)


Louvre (Paris, France)

Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss is one of Neoclassical art‘s most beloved sculptures. Inspired by the love story of Cupid, the Roman god of love (adapted from the Greek Eros), and Psyche, a human-turned-goddess, this marble masterpiece was carved by Italian sculptor Antonio Canova in 1793.

The piece depicts the touching moment Psyche—who was put into a deep, death-like sleep after opening a forbidden box— is awakened by a kiss from Cupid, her husband. Canova skillfully captures the heightened and humanist emotion of the scene by paying special attention to the lifelike expressions and intimate positioning of the figures.

“Cupid lifts his beloved Psyche in a tender embrace, his face close to hers,” the Louvre, where the piece is currently housed, explains. “Psyche lets herself sink slowly backwards, languorously taking her lover’s head between her hands.”

The Kiss by Francesco Hayez

Fall in Love With 8 of Art History's Most Romantic Masterpieces (3)

Francesco Hayez, “The Kiss,” 1859 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)


The Kiss


Francesco Hayez




Oil on canvas


43.3 in × 34.6 in (110 cm × 88 cm)


Pinacoteca di Brera (Milan, Italy)

Francesco Hayez's The Kiss evokes a powerful sense of romance and is one of the most famous kisses in Western art. It depicts a man and woman, both dressed in Medieval clothing, locked in an intense embrace. The couple is tucked away in a softly lit staircase, sharing what appears to be a secret kiss before the silhouette in the corner comes their way.

The original version of this painting was commissioned by Count Alfonso Maria Visconti and was rendered in oil in 1859. However, Hayez produced other versions of this painting in oil and watercolor, one of which was exhibited at the World Fair in Paris in 1867.

Hayez's The Kiss represents many of the core values of Italian Romanticism, including an emphasis on emotion and nostalgia for the past. Some interpret the man as a soldier who is kissing his lover before leaving for war, underscoring patriotism, which was an important ideal during the Risorgimento.

Dance in the Country by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir, “Dance in the Country,” 1883 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)


Dance in the Country


Pierre-Auguste Renoir




Oil on canvas


71 in × 35 in (180 cm × 90 cm)


Musée d'Orsay (Paris, France)

French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoirwas not only a leading figure in 19th-century art, but he also had a central role in theImpressionist movement. Dance in the Country is one of three paintings Renoir executed that show a couple dancing in different environments. This piece depicts Renoir's friend Paul Lhôte and a woman named Aline Charigot, twirling underneath a chestnut tree.

The woman's face is jubilant as she gazes directly at the viewer, while the man keeps his head close to her ear. Overall, the painting contains many traits characteristic of Renoir's distinctly soft style, including delicate brushstrokes and a warm color palette. There is an undeniable sense of joy in the painting which makes it especially romantic.

In Bed, The Kiss by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec

Fall in Love With 8 of Art History's Most Romantic Masterpieces (5)

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, “In Bed, The Kiss,” c. 1892-1893 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons Public domain)


In Bed, The Kiss


Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec




Oil on cardboard


Private Collection

Post-Impressionist painter and graphic designer Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is known for his posters, prints, and paintings ofturn-of-the-century Paris. While most of these works capture the City of Love's spectacular nightlife, some offer a glimpse into more intimate situations, like In Bed, The Kiss.

Created in 1892, this oil painting shows two women passionately kissing in bed. The pair are most likely Parisian prostitutes, one of Toulouse-Lautrec's favorite and most visited artistic subjects. Like his other works set in brothels,In Bed, The Kiss offers an intimate look at the lives of these women. What sets this piece apart, however, is the inherent emotion of the scene,which the artist emphasizes with his characteristically energetic brushwork and an expressive color palette.

Toulouse-Lautrec also explored brothel life in his Elles portfolio, a collection of lithographs. Though celebrated today, these pieces were not well-received during the artist's lifetime, as the public was not interested in “mundane intimacy.” The Museum of Modern Art explains: “Elles proved to be a commercial failure for its publisher—Gustave Pellet, who specialized in erotica—because it delivered not an exotic fantasy, but rather an intimate portrayal of women Lautrec knew firsthand and the milieu in which they lived and worked.”

The Kissby Auguste Rodin

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Auguste Rodin, “The Kiss,” 1901 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons Public domain)


The Kiss


Auguste Rodin






71.5 in x 44.3 in x 46 in (181.5 cm × 112.5 cm x 117 cm)


Musée Rodin (Paris, France)

French sculptor Auguste Rodin completedThe Kiss, a beautifulmarble sculpture,between 1888 and 1898. With its “fluid, smooth modeling, [a] very dynamic composition and [a] charming theme” (The Rodin Museum), this work is one of modern art‘s most acclaimed sculptures.

It was intended to adorn the Gates of Hell,a double-door sculpture inspired by Dante’s Inferno. Because of this source, Rodin opted to include a relief showingFrancesca da Rimini—a real-life13th-century noblewoman whose tale was featured in Dante's Divine Comedy—in the throes of an affair with her brother-in-law.

After completing the sensual piece, however,Rodin deemed it “a largesculptedknick-knack following the usual formula.” He decided to exclude it from the doors' final design and instead adapted it—a decision that has given us the free-standing sculpture we know and love today.

The Kiss by Gustave Klimt

Fall in Love With 8 of Art History's Most Romantic Masterpieces (7)

Gustav Klimt, “The Kiss,” 1907-1908 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)


The Kiss


Gustav Klimt




Oil and gold leaf on canvas


71 in × 71 in (180 cm × 180 cm)


Galerie Belvedere (Vienna, Austria)

Austrian artist Gustav Klimt paintedThe Kiss at the height of hisGolden Phase. During this luminous period, Klimt experimented with his work, crafting avant-garde paintings withpronounced planes, intricate patterns, and delicate detailing made ofgold leaf.The Kiss embodies this ethereal approach and highlights another one of Klimt's interests: portraying intimate subject matter.

The Kiss shows a loving couple mid-embrace. As they kneel in an otherworldly garden, the man leans in to kiss his partner, delicately cradling her face and running his hand through her flower-embellished hair. With her eyes peacefully closed, the woman wraps her arms around him, accepting and anticipating her lover's kiss.

Klimt never disclosed the identities of the figures. However, today, the couple is widely believed to have been inspired by the artist and his companion (and perhaps lover) Emilie Flöge,a Viennese fashion designer. Much like the painting itself, their relationship is shrouded in a glittering mystery.

The embrace (Lovers II) by Egon Schiele

Fall in Love With 8 of Art History's Most Romantic Masterpieces (8)

Egon Schiele, “The embrace (Lovers II),” 1917 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)


The embrace (Lovers II)


Egon Schiele




Oil on canvas


39.3 in × 66.9 in (100 cm × 170 cm)


Belvedere (Vienna, Austria)

Austrian artist Egon Schiele was a major figurative painter of the 20th century. Within his short career, he created over 3,000 works on paper and around 300 paintings on canvas. Best known for his contorted portraits, Schiele rejected society’s conventional view of beauty and preferred to capture the true—and often ugly and explicit—emotions of his subjects.

His painting The embrace (Lovers II) is an excellent example of his raw depictions of people, featuring a naked couple who are locked together in an intense embrace. Both the man and the woman have their arms wrapped around each other as their dark hair intertwines. They are nestled on top of a wrinkled white sheet, while the rest of the background is left with a rough yellow and black texture.

Loveby Robert Indiana

Fall in Love With 8 of Art History's Most Romantic Masterpieces (9)

Robert Indiana, “Love”(Photo: Stock Photos from Christian Mueller/Shutterstock)




Robert Indiana


1970 (first version)


United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, South America

Since 1970, Robert Indiana's large-scale Love sculptures have popped up in cities around the world. While these Pop Art pieces have taken on a romantic meaning, their original intention was less Valentine's Day-related and more in the Christmas spirit.

In fact, Indiana came up with the familiar design—characterized by a stacked set of seraph letters spelling out the word, “LOVE”—for the Museum of Modern Art's holiday card. Therefore, it is not surprising that the motif's origins are actually rooted in Indiana's religious upbringing. “I, as a child, was raised as a Christian Scientist,” Indiana explained in a letter to an art collector, “and the world LOVE was indelibly imprinted in the mind, for there is that slightly different phrase, ‘God is Love,' on every front wall of every one of Mary Baker Eddy’s houses throughout the world.”

Over the years, Indiana'ssculptures have taken on a lovey-dovey life of their own. While the late artist had a love-hate relationship with the wildly popular series (he famously said, “It was a marvelous idea, but it was also a terrible mistake”), they will undoubtedly continue to inspire romantics for years to come.

This article has been edited and updated.

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Fall in Love With 8 of Art History's Most Romantic Masterpieces (2024)


What did Romantic artists love specifically in their art? ›

With this philosophical foundation, the Romanticists elevated a number of key themes to which they were deeply committed: a reverence for nature and the supernatural, an idealization of the past as a nobler era, a fascination with the exotic and the mysterious, and a celebration of the heroic and the sublime.

What did romantic art most often portrayed? ›

Nature was another important theme in Romantic art, with many artists exploring the beauty and power of the natural world. They often depicted landscapes, flora, and fauna in a highly stylized and idealized way, using bold brushstrokes and vibrant colors to convey the intensity of the experience.

Why is the painting above considered Romantic despite the artist's classical female figure in the center brainly? ›

Expert-Verified Answer

The painting above is considered Romantic despite the artist's classical female figure in the center because: "it is not exactly factual, but creates an emotion of the moment" (Option B)

Was the first country where romanticism bloomed and British Romantic writers were among the most prominent in Europe? ›

The Romantic movement, which originated in Germany but quickly spread to England, France, and beyond, reached America around the year 1820, some twenty years after William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge had revolutionized English poetry by publishing Lyrical Ballads.

What did the Romantics think was the purpose of art? ›

The artists emphasized that sense and emotions - not simply reason and order - were equally important means of understanding and experiencing the world. Romanticism celebrated the individual imagination and intuition in the enduring search for individual rights and liberty.

What is the focus of Romanticism art? ›

Romanticism emphasized the individual, the subjective, the irrational, the imaginative, the personal, the spontaneous, the emotional, the visionary, and the transcendental.

What impact did Romanticism have on art? ›

Along with plumbing emotional and behavioral extremes, Romantic artists expanded the repertoire of subject matter, rejecting the didacticism of Neoclassical history painting in favor of imaginary and exotic subjects. Orientalism and the worlds of literature stimulated new dialogues with the past as well as the present.

Who is the father of Romanticism? ›

First is Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who is often considered the father of Romanticism. And the last is Friedrich Nietzsche, who is sometimes considered the greatest Romantic. Afterwards, we will look at the commonalities among these philosophers that let us talk of a Romantic Movement.

What is an example of Romanticism in art? ›

"Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog" by Caspar David Friedrich

Caspar David Friedrich's "Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog" is a renowned romanticism painting that showcases the triumph of subjectivity over objectivity through its evocative portrayal of a solitary figure gazing out into a vast, misty landscape.

Who is considered by many to be the greatest painter of the Romantic era? ›

Spanish painter Francisco Goya is today generally regarded as the greatest painter of the Romantic period. However, in many ways he remained wedded to the classicism and realism of his training.

What is the difference between baroque and Romantic paintings? ›

The difference between baroque and romantic paintings is that they were done during different centuries. The baroque painting came first before romanticism, and it was more realistic since it depicts the subject in action. Romantic art displayed more heroic moments that baroque did not feature in its painting.

What did Romantic artists place great importance on? ›

Romanticism was characterized by a focus on individualism, emotion, imagination, and nature. Romantic artists placed great importance on expressing their emotions through their art, often emphasizing individual feelings and experiences over traditional forms and techniques.

When did Romanticism end? ›

The Romantic Period began roughly around 1798 and lasted until 1837.

Which two artists did more than anyone else to establish landscape painting as a Romantic genre? ›

It was in the 19th century that landscape painting finally emerged as a respectable genre within the art academies of Europe and gained a strong following in the United States as well. In England two of the foremost landscape painters were John Constable and J.M.W. Turner.

What was the romantic period between 1785 and 1832? ›

The romantic period is a term applied to the literature of approximately from 1785 to 1832. During this time, literature began to show the tendencies that were not entirely new but were in strong contrast to the standard literary practice of the eighteenth century.

What did Romantic artists value? ›

With its emphasis on the imagination and emotion, Romanticism emerged as a response to the disillusionment with the Enlightenment values of reason and order in the aftermath of the French Revolution of 1789.

What techniques did Romanticism use in art? ›

In contrast romanticism stressed intense colors, shimmering light, animated brushstrokes and passionate scenes that evoked emotion. One mustn't be fooled by the softness of the movement's name, for it represents intense raw emotional expression. Romantic artists fostered a desire to convey their deepest beliefs.

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