Valentine Moments in Time

What is love?

Philosophers have debated this question for eons.

They divide love into three forms: eros, the passionate, intense desire; philia, a fondness and appreciation for others; and agape, the love of God and humanity.

Even scientists can’t explain Love.

You can’t blame gravity for falling in love.Albert Einstein.

On Valentine’s Day, many thoughts turn to romance.

Historians believe “romance” referred to the artistic expressions of elite classes—in particular, their style of speech, writing, and art.

In French, it means “verse narrative”, and in Latin, “of the Roman style.”

We think of it today as a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.

La Belle Dame sans Merci by John William Waterhouse, 1893.
La Belle Dame sans Merci by John William Waterhouse, 1893.

There’s a reason we associate medieval chivalry with romance. Chivalric romance is a type of prose used in European aristocratic circles during the middle ages. It featured the adventures of heroic knights with an emphasis on courtly love.

A highly ritualized, non-physical bond formed between a knight and the lady he served. It was part of a complex moral code of conduct that guided knights as champions of the oppressed, and loyal subjects of their Lord.
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Hellelil and Hildebrand, The Meeting on the Turret Stairs by Frederic William Burton (1816-1900).
Hellelil and Hildebrand, The Meeting on the Turret Stairs by Frederic William Burton (1816-1900).

Today, even the word medieval evokes romantic images of knights, fair maidens, and dragons.

British sociologist and author Anthony Giddens thinks that the rise of romantic love coincided with the advent of the novel. It began to make its presence felt from around the late 18th century.

Oh, if it be to choose and call thee mine, love, thou art every day my Valentine.Thomas Hood.

In a world where elite classes entered into contracts of marriage for economic and social reasons, the idea of romantic love, of the freedom to fall in love as we do today, was for many, just a dream … but a dream that could be brought to life through novels.

Scene from Jane Austen's Pride and prejudice.
A scene from Jane Austen’s Pride and prejudice.
You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.Mr. Darcy in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

An admiring glance, a stolen kiss, a walk by the river, the first embrace. Romantic love abounds in the art of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Enjoy these paintings to Henri Mancini’s Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet.

Romeo and Juliet parting on the balcony in Act III by Ford Maddox Brown, 1866.
Romeo and Juliet parting on the balcony in Act III by Ford Maddox Brown, 1866.
Romeo and Juliet by Frank Dicksee, 1884.
Romeo and Juliet by Frank Dicksee, 1884.
Soul meets soul on lovers’ lips.Percy Bysshe Shelley.
The Kiss by Francois Brunery (Italian, 1849 - 1926).
The Kiss by Francois Brunery (Italian, 1849 – 1926).
The Stolen Kiss by Jean-Honore Fragonard - c.1789.
The Stolen Kiss by Jean-Honore Fragonard – c.1789.
Federico Andreotti by Federico Andreotti (Italian, 1847 - 1930).
Federico Andreotti by Federico Andreotti (Italian, 1847 – 1930).
The Lovers by Marie-Francois Firmin-Girard, 1878.
The Lovers by Marie-Francois Firmin-Girard, 1878.
The Lovers by Karl Schweninger Jr. (Austrian, 1854 - 1903).
The Lovers by Karl Schweninger Jr. (Austrian, 1854 – 1903).
The Lovers by Cesare Augusto Detti (Italian, 1847 - 1914).
The Lovers by Cesare Augusto Detti (Italian, 1847 – 1914).
The Happy Lovers by Jean-Honore Fragonard, 1765.
The Happy Lovers by Jean-Honore Fragonard, 1765.
The Fairy Lovers by Theodore Von Holst, c.1840.
The Fairy Lovers by Theodore Von Holst, c.1840.
Lovers in a Garden by Charles Edward Perugini (Italian, 1839 - 1918).
Lovers in a Garden by Charles Edward Perugini (Italian, 1839 – 1918).
Lovers' Meeting by William Powell Frith (English, 1819 - 1909).
Lovers’ Meeting by William Powell Frith (English, 1819 – 1909).
Lovers by Pal Szinyei-Merse, 1870.
Lovers by Pal Szinyei-Merse, 1870.
Lovers under a Blossom Tree by John Callcott Horsley (English, 1817 - 1903).
Lovers under a Blossom Tree by John Callcott Horsley (English, 1817 – 1903).
The Lovers by Charles Webster Hawthorne (American, 1872 - 1930).
The Lovers by Charles Webster Hawthorne (American, 1872 – 1930).
The Lovers of Spring by Henri Martin (French, 1860 - 1943).
The Lovers of Spring by Henri Martin (French, 1860 – 1943).
The Lovers by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1875.
The Lovers by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1875.
The Lovers by Henri Martin (French, 1860 - 1943).
The Lovers by Henri Martin (French, 1860 – 1943).
The Lovers by Henri Martin (French, 1860 - 1943).
The Lovers by Henri Martin (French, 1860 – 1943).
In the Garden by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1885.
In the Garden by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1885.
Lovers Walking by Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo, 1901.
Lovers Walking by Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo, 1901.
In Fairy Land A series of pictures from the elf-world by Richard Doyle With a poem by W Allingham - caption: 'An elf and a fairy kissing'.
An elf and a fairy kissing by Richard Doyle.
Now a soft kiss – Aye, by that kiss, I vow an endless bliss.John Keats.
The Kiss by Konstantin Somov, 1906.
The Kiss by Konstantin Somov, 1906.

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