Thursday 13: Some of the Most Romantic Artwork (in My Humble Opinion)

Well in honor of the big Love month, I’m sharing with you my top 13 picks for romantic pieces of art. I intended to share this a couple of  weeks ago in honor of Valentine’s Day, but ran out of time. Here we go…… (Note, I’m not a big fan of modern art, so you won’t see much of it in my list.) And I couldn’t help but include an interesting tidbit or two about each artist.

1. “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862 – February 6, 1918).  Very passionate pose, though I think she’ll need a chiropractor when all is said and done.


Klimt was an Austrian painter known for his paintings of women, often in erotic poses.  He often used gold leaf in his paintings. Though you’ve probably seen this particular painting before, he may not be familiar to a lot of you. However,  one of his paintings brought one of the highest prices ever paid for a work of art, surpassing even Van Gogh, Picasso, and Renoir.

2. “Springtime” by Pierre Auguste Cot (February 17, 1837 – 1883) The ethereal background, gaze of the female and body language all point to these youngsters being the poster children for young love.


This painting was “lost” and forgotten  for 40 years (though some art enthusiasts were searching for it). It was rediscovered in 1980, dirty and with graffiti marring its surface.  The MET sells about $70,000 in reproductions  of this painting a year.

3. “Romeo and Juliet” by Sir Frank Dicksee. What’s not romantic about someone leaping over your balcony? OK, I can think of a lot of someone’s I want nowhere near my balcony, but you know what I mean.


Sir Frank Dicksee was knighted by King George V in 1925.  He was a bachelor and reportedly tall and handsome. So ladies, maybe he’s your knight in shining armor….just in another country….and dead.

4. “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” also by Sir Frank Dicksee. I’ve always loved this painting and have a small print of it in my bedroom.


The title translated means, “The Beautiful Lady without Mercy” and is based on a ballad by the English poet, John Keats.  In a nutshell, it’s a story about a knight who is entranced by a beautiful fairy-like creature. He gives her his horse, she kisses him to sleep and basically leaves him for dead. Now that’s romance! Shucks – wish I’d never looked up that story. Still think the painting is romantic!

5.  “The Soul of the Rose” (aka “My Sweet Rose) by John William Waterhouse. You may ask how this painting is romantic when there’s only one person in it. I think her dreamy, ethereal gaze, the setting, and her appreciation of the beauty in the rose all scream romance.  (I mean she doesn’t look like the type to shun a knight in shining armor who might happen her way.) To me she looks like she’s reminiscing about someone who makes her heart go pitter patter or dreaming of someone who will make her heart go pitter patter when they at last meet. At any rate, obviously it’s one of my favorites.


Waterhouse is often erroneously called a Pre-Raphaelite. There was an actual brotherhood formed of artists who did not like the influence Raphael had on art. In a nutshell they found his style of painting stiff and stuffy. Pre-Raphaelites were famous for painting romantic type pictures often based on legends or  poetry.  Waterhouse definitely fits the style, though he wasn’t a member of this once secret-society.

6.  “Meeting on the Turret Stairs” by Frederic Burton. knight20leaves20for20battle

Don’t know much about this painting or the artist, but I do know that it’s based on a Danish ballad of forbidden love.

7. “The Kiss” By Rodin. Another very passionate chiropractor-inducing pose.


This sculpture was based on the legendary noblewoman in Dante’s Inferno.Apparently, she falls in love with her husband’s younger brother while they are reading the story of Lancelot and Guinevere. They are discovered and killed. It is suggested that their lips aren’t touching in the sculpture because perhaps they were interrupted and never got to experience their first kiss. Now why they were naked while reading, we’ll never know. Arghh! Another piece of art ruined by its story of infidelity!

8.    “Joy” by Chagall. What’ s more romantic than walking on air in Paris with the one you love as violinists serenade you?


Chagall was a Jewish artist living in Paris during WWII. Faced with deportation, he and his wife fled, travelling through Spain and Portugal, before settling in the US.

9. “Sunset” by Norman Rockwell. Now this may seem like a strange selection. It’s definitely a different style than my other choices. But it’s so sweet.  Watching the sunset in the arms of the one you love. And look at those pitiful daisies! Makes it all the better!


Norman Rockwell is famous for his many illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post (over 300). He produced over 4, 000 original works of art in his lifetime, many were destroyed in a fire at his studio.  His works are known for their all-American themes, comic take on life, and exaggerated expressions.

10. “The Kiss” by Francesco Hayez. (How many other paintings can I find with this title!?).


Although I’ve seen this painting, I’m not really familiar with this artist. One interesting fact: he often did not sign and date his paintings. So the moral is, if you wanna be really famous, sign those canvases!

11. “Waterlilies” by Claude Monet. How is this romantic you might ask. Well this will always have a sentimental, special place in my heart. James proposed to me in front of a huge waterlily painting by Claude Monet! You can read the story here


Monet’s home and garden can still be toured today. One of my goals in life is to paint from his garden or on his famous Japanese bridge.

12. “The Rippling Chest” by….OK, I’m just kidding on this one. I’m running out of art here.


13.  Your choice. What’s your favorite?  Please leave me a comment with your favorite piece and I’ll add pictures here (if I can find them online).

Patricia’s Choice….”The Painter’s Honeymoon” by Lord Frederick Leighton.  Nice one Patricia. I wasn’t familiar with it, but I do like it a lot. I have his “Flaming June” Hanging in my office.


Brad’s selection: “For me it has to be the painting by Jean-Leon Gerome titled ‘Pygmalion and Galatea’ (1890). Absolutely beautiful.”  Thanks for the suggestion Brad. I like the story behind it too. In a nutshell, Pygmalion created a beautiful sculpture in Ivory. It was so beautiful, he dressed it, gave it jewelry, and treated it like a girlfriend. He was in love. He prayed that Aphrodite would make his sculpture real, and when she did they got married and lived happily ever after.  (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on that.)


~ by tawnyamarie on February 26, 2009.

20 Responses to “Thursday 13: Some of the Most Romantic Artwork (in My Humble Opinion)”

  1. I don’t know the artist, but I like this one too:

  2. Trying again…


  3. 2, 5, and 6 are my favorites. Except for the cheesey guy with the sword and rippling chest, I love them all. 🙂 You have excellent taste in art, my friend!

  4. How about American Gothic by Grant Wood? 🙂 Ha! That’s what we will all look like in about fifty years 🙂

    • Krystal: I thought about listing American Gothic as one of the most un-romantic pieces. It’s not even necessarily supposed to portray a husband and wife – that’s up for debate – so perhaps it’s good that it’s not romantic.

      I for one do not plan to be that unhappy at 86, especially if I age that well!

  5. Ah, this is a very interesting survey of romanticism through ages/cultures. I hadn’t really thought about it before.

  6. Hello. For me it has to be the painting by Jean-Leon Gerome titled “Pygmalion and Galatea” (1890). Absolutely beautiful.

  7. I loved this post! Both my parents are artists, but neither draw figures into their work. I am a writer so I love stories being told through paintings – particularly romantic stories! Rodin’s sculpture is probably the most divine of all – and for romance in poetry Rumi and Rilke’s poems to the Beloved, and in modern literature, Audrey Niffenegger’s ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’. Have you read it?

  8. Thanks Shaista. Glad you enjoyed it. I am not too familiar with poetry. I’ve heard about “The Time Traveler’s Wife”. I believe it’s being released as a movie. I read someone’s review of the trailer for the movie. (As usual they said the movie was not as good as the book). Best wishes with your writing!

  9. Some Artwork you may be interested in at

  10. Your work is amazing. May your hands always be busy and may your heart always be open.
    Thank You
    Warmest Regards

  11. WOW!!!!! That’s all I have to there is no word that describe my astonishment.

    I would like to suggest to add a certain art piece of favorite to me , it’s by John William Waterhous ( you’re a big fan I presume ) , it is based on Ovid’s poem the metamorphosis , about Orpheus and Eurydice .

    Well better not try to tell you the story you better read it your on, I don’t want to ruin it for you .

    But any way its Orpheus and Eurydice from the metamorphosis, and the painting is “called Nymphs Finding the Head of Orpheus “by John William Waterhous.
    The link for painting.


  12. I love #6, no often I see the passion of a man seaking for the love of her heart’s hand to kiss, respecting maybe that is an impossible love. I am just making up a story for it, since I don’t know it, I love it. thanks for sharing!

  13. I think edmund leighton blairs “signing the register” is his most romantic piece, but I tend to see the act of commitment as more romantic than the act of passion. A lot of his paintings depict courtship and are quite romantic.

  14. I love “the Rippling Chest!” hahaha…

  15. there is an unexplainable feelings in every kisses,
    the one mankind unique behavior,
    romance in one point touch… how hard for our artists to show it…
    Thanks for your heart.
    S.Momtahan (from the forbidden part of world, Iran)

  16. Klimt’s artworks are just magic. I’m also very partial to his portrayals of nature.

    Glad to have stumbled upon your blog!

  17. I must say my favorite painting is Monet’s “Waterlilies”.
    I have another drawing in mind, which would fit in your collection, but I can’t find it… And I don’t know who drew it. It’s the drawing of a man and a woman in a room (about 1800), and the girl is drawing the profile (shadow) of her boyfriend on the wall, because he is leaving for some reason. Do you know it?

  18. Thanks to all you visitors for your comments. Flavia, I’m not sure I know that drawing, but now you have my curiosity up. If you find it, be sure to report back.

  19. i like this site very much,the above paints are not only need the user need resent information about the paints

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