Love in June

800px-Wall_painting_-_wedding_of_Zeus_and_Hera_-_Pompeii_(VI_8_3)_-_Napoli_MAN_9559_-_02Susan here on the first of June, a month famously associated with many things—roses, summer, last day of school, Gemini, more recently LGBTQIA Pride Month, Men’s Health Month … and traditionally, of course, weddings and marriage. Why weddings? Aside from the chance for beautiful weather and lots of roses, June is named for Juno, the Roman goddess (she was once Hera) and protector of women and marriage, a strong warrior woman and wife of Jupiter (Zeus). (Juno, fresco in Pompeii). 

So here’s a look at some gorgeous artworks that convey a June-like sense of love, marriage, devotion, passion. Images can be shortcuts to evoking a mental and emotional response that we can connect with instantly. A romantic subject can convey immediately as a visual.     

6a00e54ec9c7bf8833022ad37996ab200cKing Tutankhamun and his queen, Ankhesenamun, depicted on the back of a golden chair found in Tut’s tomb, 18th dynasty. This shows the tenderness and affection between the teenage king and his young half-sister/wife – a sense of emotional intimacy that appears elsewhere in Egyptian art (particularly of this period).

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Codex Manesse, German, 14th century – medieval imagery of lovers is often stiff and unnatural, but this little image has a sweet joy and a flirting embrace that is genuine and affectionate with echoes of courtly love.

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The Arnolfini Portrait, Jan Van Eyck, 1434, National Gallery, London. An enigmatic double portrait of a possible marriage between (tentatively identified) the Bruges merchant Giovanni Arnolfini and his wife (her right hand in his left, the artist’s signature and image in the mirror on the back wall make this a possible legal document; other symbolic representations refer to marriage, loyalty, fertility and so on). Arnolfini was once described by a scholar as “a cold fish,” yet there’s a certain vulnerability and shyness in both groom and bride that is endlessly fascinating, and – even if one just absorbs the exquisite beauty of this little painting-– it has a romantic, what-will-happen-to-them sense that captures our curiosity. Among the theories is that this may be a memorial portrait of a wife who had died – making this portrait even more romantic and poignant – and certainly less cold than some suggest. 

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Rembrandt, The Jewish Bride 1667, Rijksmuseum. The subjects of this picture are unknown – perhaps Old Testament figures, which Rembrandt painted often – or perhaps another couple. Whoever they are, the painting of these two is exquisite, rich with a real yet understated emotional content that seems lasting and powerful. There is such love in this painting, from the quiet, protective gestures to the warm lighting—even the build-up of paint on the surface adds layers of golden richness that deepen the emotional content.

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Pierre-Auguste Cot, The Storm, 1880, The Metropolitan Museum, NYC. In college, this was the poster I taped on my wall–the young lovers fleeing a storm or some unseen enemy, all gorgeous passion, swirling energy, devotion and the mystery of romance.  

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Frederick Burton, The Meeting on the Turret Stair, Museum of Ireland, 1864. Poignant and powerful, the last meeting of a couple doomed to be apart–the last touch as they pass each other to be forever separated. The polished realism, the vivid color, the solid figures and the spiral of their bodies all work together to give this image its emotional power. 

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The Painter's Honeymoon, Lord Fredric Leighton, 1864, Boston MFA. This picture so beautifully conveys a moment of devoted, contented new love — light, textures, the contrast of hard and soft, light and dark, all contribute to the strength and quiet beauty of the image. And those clasped hands, just lovely. 

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The Order of Release 1746, Sir John Everett Millais, 1852, The Tate. The Highland wife in this exquisite painting is the very image of strength in love, accepting her Highland husband from English custody. Her control and determination here are stirring and beautiful. Another love story is related to this painting, as the model was Effie Ruskin, the wife of John Ruskin. She fell in love with the painter when the Ruskins traveled with Millais on a trip to Scotland; two years later, when her marriage to Ruskin had ended, they married.

So there you go, some of my favorite romantic paintings. Please share your favorite images too!

55 thoughts on “Love in June”

  1. Happy June all, and thank you for a lovely post, Susan.
    I am someone who married in June; we’d actually wished to marry in May to commemorate our first date but weren’t able to get the venue then.
    I am not coming up with a favorite romantic painting, but I certainly enjoyed seeing your choices.

    Reply
  2. Happy June all, and thank you for a lovely post, Susan.
    I am someone who married in June; we’d actually wished to marry in May to commemorate our first date but weren’t able to get the venue then.
    I am not coming up with a favorite romantic painting, but I certainly enjoyed seeing your choices.

    Reply
  3. Happy June all, and thank you for a lovely post, Susan.
    I am someone who married in June; we’d actually wished to marry in May to commemorate our first date but weren’t able to get the venue then.
    I am not coming up with a favorite romantic painting, but I certainly enjoyed seeing your choices.

    Reply
  4. Happy June all, and thank you for a lovely post, Susan.
    I am someone who married in June; we’d actually wished to marry in May to commemorate our first date but weren’t able to get the venue then.
    I am not coming up with a favorite romantic painting, but I certainly enjoyed seeing your choices.

    Reply
  5. Happy June all, and thank you for a lovely post, Susan.
    I am someone who married in June; we’d actually wished to marry in May to commemorate our first date but weren’t able to get the venue then.
    I am not coming up with a favorite romantic painting, but I certainly enjoyed seeing your choices.

    Reply
  6. Susan-Indeed a lovely post.The painting of the lovers in Frederick Burton’s painting actually reminded me of the iconic photograph of the sailor kissing the woman he didn’t know Times Square, New York City, when the end of World War II was announced.

    Reply
  7. Susan-Indeed a lovely post.The painting of the lovers in Frederick Burton’s painting actually reminded me of the iconic photograph of the sailor kissing the woman he didn’t know Times Square, New York City, when the end of World War II was announced.

    Reply
  8. Susan-Indeed a lovely post.The painting of the lovers in Frederick Burton’s painting actually reminded me of the iconic photograph of the sailor kissing the woman he didn’t know Times Square, New York City, when the end of World War II was announced.

    Reply
  9. Susan-Indeed a lovely post.The painting of the lovers in Frederick Burton’s painting actually reminded me of the iconic photograph of the sailor kissing the woman he didn’t know Times Square, New York City, when the end of World War II was announced.

    Reply
  10. Susan-Indeed a lovely post.The painting of the lovers in Frederick Burton’s painting actually reminded me of the iconic photograph of the sailor kissing the woman he didn’t know Times Square, New York City, when the end of World War II was announced.

    Reply
  11. Susan-One more thing…the photographer I referred to was Alfred Eisenstadt. And the identity of the man and woman in the photo remain a mystery to this day. But like so many other works of art, the image really told/captured the essence of the story…

    Reply
  12. Susan-One more thing…the photographer I referred to was Alfred Eisenstadt. And the identity of the man and woman in the photo remain a mystery to this day. But like so many other works of art, the image really told/captured the essence of the story…

    Reply
  13. Susan-One more thing…the photographer I referred to was Alfred Eisenstadt. And the identity of the man and woman in the photo remain a mystery to this day. But like so many other works of art, the image really told/captured the essence of the story…

    Reply
  14. Susan-One more thing…the photographer I referred to was Alfred Eisenstadt. And the identity of the man and woman in the photo remain a mystery to this day. But like so many other works of art, the image really told/captured the essence of the story…

    Reply
  15. Susan-One more thing…the photographer I referred to was Alfred Eisenstadt. And the identity of the man and woman in the photo remain a mystery to this day. But like so many other works of art, the image really told/captured the essence of the story…

    Reply
  16. Thank you so much for the beautiful paintings. Love seems to be an emotion that artists have noticed for quite a few years. It provides us with the knowledge that love is universal, no matter the time or place. Thank you for sharing the sweetness and tenderness in the illustrations.
    I hope everyone is well.

    Reply
  17. Thank you so much for the beautiful paintings. Love seems to be an emotion that artists have noticed for quite a few years. It provides us with the knowledge that love is universal, no matter the time or place. Thank you for sharing the sweetness and tenderness in the illustrations.
    I hope everyone is well.

    Reply
  18. Thank you so much for the beautiful paintings. Love seems to be an emotion that artists have noticed for quite a few years. It provides us with the knowledge that love is universal, no matter the time or place. Thank you for sharing the sweetness and tenderness in the illustrations.
    I hope everyone is well.

    Reply
  19. Thank you so much for the beautiful paintings. Love seems to be an emotion that artists have noticed for quite a few years. It provides us with the knowledge that love is universal, no matter the time or place. Thank you for sharing the sweetness and tenderness in the illustrations.
    I hope everyone is well.

    Reply
  20. Thank you so much for the beautiful paintings. Love seems to be an emotion that artists have noticed for quite a few years. It provides us with the knowledge that love is universal, no matter the time or place. Thank you for sharing the sweetness and tenderness in the illustrations.
    I hope everyone is well.

    Reply
  21. The Kiss, Gustav Klimt (my own college room poster)
    Dance Me to the End of Love, Jack Vettriano
    The Singing Butler, Jack Vettriano
    Back Where You Belong, Jack Vettriano
    The Wedding Register, Edward Leighton (although I always wonder if the bride is actually happy)
    Dance in the Country, Renoir
    So many more…. Thanks for a lovely post, Susan – and a reminder to take some time to revisit my art books!

    Reply
  22. The Kiss, Gustav Klimt (my own college room poster)
    Dance Me to the End of Love, Jack Vettriano
    The Singing Butler, Jack Vettriano
    Back Where You Belong, Jack Vettriano
    The Wedding Register, Edward Leighton (although I always wonder if the bride is actually happy)
    Dance in the Country, Renoir
    So many more…. Thanks for a lovely post, Susan – and a reminder to take some time to revisit my art books!

    Reply
  23. The Kiss, Gustav Klimt (my own college room poster)
    Dance Me to the End of Love, Jack Vettriano
    The Singing Butler, Jack Vettriano
    Back Where You Belong, Jack Vettriano
    The Wedding Register, Edward Leighton (although I always wonder if the bride is actually happy)
    Dance in the Country, Renoir
    So many more…. Thanks for a lovely post, Susan – and a reminder to take some time to revisit my art books!

    Reply
  24. The Kiss, Gustav Klimt (my own college room poster)
    Dance Me to the End of Love, Jack Vettriano
    The Singing Butler, Jack Vettriano
    Back Where You Belong, Jack Vettriano
    The Wedding Register, Edward Leighton (although I always wonder if the bride is actually happy)
    Dance in the Country, Renoir
    So many more…. Thanks for a lovely post, Susan – and a reminder to take some time to revisit my art books!

    Reply
  25. The Kiss, Gustav Klimt (my own college room poster)
    Dance Me to the End of Love, Jack Vettriano
    The Singing Butler, Jack Vettriano
    Back Where You Belong, Jack Vettriano
    The Wedding Register, Edward Leighton (although I always wonder if the bride is actually happy)
    Dance in the Country, Renoir
    So many more…. Thanks for a lovely post, Susan – and a reminder to take some time to revisit my art books!

    Reply
  26. Lovely post and images. My favourite depiction of love is a sculpture: Psyche and Cupid (or Amor or Eros). And while I know the original version is the one in the Louvre or the one in the Eremitage, I actually prefer the one in the Villa Carlotta on Lake Como. Maybe because of the setting or the fact that on a rainy spring day you can have the whole room with the sculpture almost to yourself. I don’t know how to include pictures, so here is a link instead: https://www.villacarlotta.it/de/museum/chamber-of-cupid-and-psyche/cupid-and-psyche/

    Reply
  27. Lovely post and images. My favourite depiction of love is a sculpture: Psyche and Cupid (or Amor or Eros). And while I know the original version is the one in the Louvre or the one in the Eremitage, I actually prefer the one in the Villa Carlotta on Lake Como. Maybe because of the setting or the fact that on a rainy spring day you can have the whole room with the sculpture almost to yourself. I don’t know how to include pictures, so here is a link instead: https://www.villacarlotta.it/de/museum/chamber-of-cupid-and-psyche/cupid-and-psyche/

    Reply
  28. Lovely post and images. My favourite depiction of love is a sculpture: Psyche and Cupid (or Amor or Eros). And while I know the original version is the one in the Louvre or the one in the Eremitage, I actually prefer the one in the Villa Carlotta on Lake Como. Maybe because of the setting or the fact that on a rainy spring day you can have the whole room with the sculpture almost to yourself. I don’t know how to include pictures, so here is a link instead: https://www.villacarlotta.it/de/museum/chamber-of-cupid-and-psyche/cupid-and-psyche/

    Reply
  29. Lovely post and images. My favourite depiction of love is a sculpture: Psyche and Cupid (or Amor or Eros). And while I know the original version is the one in the Louvre or the one in the Eremitage, I actually prefer the one in the Villa Carlotta on Lake Como. Maybe because of the setting or the fact that on a rainy spring day you can have the whole room with the sculpture almost to yourself. I don’t know how to include pictures, so here is a link instead: https://www.villacarlotta.it/de/museum/chamber-of-cupid-and-psyche/cupid-and-psyche/

    Reply
  30. Lovely post and images. My favourite depiction of love is a sculpture: Psyche and Cupid (or Amor or Eros). And while I know the original version is the one in the Louvre or the one in the Eremitage, I actually prefer the one in the Villa Carlotta on Lake Como. Maybe because of the setting or the fact that on a rainy spring day you can have the whole room with the sculpture almost to yourself. I don’t know how to include pictures, so here is a link instead: https://www.villacarlotta.it/de/museum/chamber-of-cupid-and-psyche/cupid-and-psyche/

    Reply
  31. I’m a great admirer of early religious music and Josquin Desprez is a favorite composer. Some of the cover art on my CD collection is extremely beautiful. For some examples google ‘josquin des prez masses cover art’
    I rarely get to city art galleries these days but as a memento of student visits to the Tate Gallery, I have a print of Picasso’s ‘Madame Z’ at the head of my stairs. She looks down at me as I descend each morning!

    Reply
  32. I’m a great admirer of early religious music and Josquin Desprez is a favorite composer. Some of the cover art on my CD collection is extremely beautiful. For some examples google ‘josquin des prez masses cover art’
    I rarely get to city art galleries these days but as a memento of student visits to the Tate Gallery, I have a print of Picasso’s ‘Madame Z’ at the head of my stairs. She looks down at me as I descend each morning!

    Reply
  33. I’m a great admirer of early religious music and Josquin Desprez is a favorite composer. Some of the cover art on my CD collection is extremely beautiful. For some examples google ‘josquin des prez masses cover art’
    I rarely get to city art galleries these days but as a memento of student visits to the Tate Gallery, I have a print of Picasso’s ‘Madame Z’ at the head of my stairs. She looks down at me as I descend each morning!

    Reply
  34. I’m a great admirer of early religious music and Josquin Desprez is a favorite composer. Some of the cover art on my CD collection is extremely beautiful. For some examples google ‘josquin des prez masses cover art’
    I rarely get to city art galleries these days but as a memento of student visits to the Tate Gallery, I have a print of Picasso’s ‘Madame Z’ at the head of my stairs. She looks down at me as I descend each morning!

    Reply
  35. I’m a great admirer of early religious music and Josquin Desprez is a favorite composer. Some of the cover art on my CD collection is extremely beautiful. For some examples google ‘josquin des prez masses cover art’
    I rarely get to city art galleries these days but as a memento of student visits to the Tate Gallery, I have a print of Picasso’s ‘Madame Z’ at the head of my stairs. She looks down at me as I descend each morning!

    Reply

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