It’s the time of the year for red roses, pink champagne, over-sentimentalized cards and silly useless gifts that tend to end up in the closet along with the weight loss paraphernalia you bought after the holidays. Also it is the loneliest time of the year for the majority of the population who are single and find themselves looking hastily for misguided companionship in the most unfortunate places. Been there my friends.
Fortunately I am now married, so the only thing I need to do is think of a better gift than the one my wife is getting me. Nevertheless I want to introduce some artwork that might come handy when considering cards, prints or even reproductions for your special someone. Artwork that would surely impress and bring you extra points in this great manufactured capitalist lie that is Valentine’s Day.
The first piece is “Venus and Mars” by the Italian Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli. The work can be found at the UK National Gallery in London, and it is a thoroughly striking piece. The story is that of a love affair between the god of war Mars and goddess of love and beauty Venus who was married at the time. Not to worry my friends, they get punished later on when the matter becomes public so to speak; however this artwork is concerned with the moment that the act of love making has ended.
The painting is symbolic in terms of the triumph of love over war, as Venus has managed to seduce and win over Mars. Yet the scene is tremendously humorous and lighthearted. Mars for all intents and purposes has been drained, exhausted, you might even say passed out. I would like to say the god of war has been conquered. Mars is so out of it that even the little annoying infant Satyrs cannot wake him up. One of them is actually blowing a small conch shell in his ear, alas Mars is too shagged out to react.
Venus has an interesting expression on her face, she almost looks disappointed, displeased and irritated. Could it be that Mars didn’t perform adequately and the artist is anticipating her regret later on when being punished, which is also evident from the bees that hover around Mars? After all if you want some honey you have to take the chance of being stung by the bees, which is actually another story that features Venus and her son Cupid. Other interpretations by art historians read Venus’s expression as that of a peeved lover who wanted more after sex. However you look at it Botticelli paints a scenario that can be tried and true at any time throughout history, I just hope you have happier ending post coitus.
Another artwork I want to share with you is “The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa” by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, residing in the Cornaro Chapel, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome. If you were looking for heavenly love, you’d be hard pressed to find a better example than this. Bernini gives you love that is out of this world, beyond description. As words fail to bring to life this ecstasy Saint Teresa felt when she was visited by an angel, Bernini makes marble flow, twist and coil in complete orgasm.
The story comes from St. Teresa’s written account which was tremendously popular in Rome at the time, and people would read it in awe and envy. She writes of the angel piercing her heart with an arrow, however if you look closer at the sculpture you see Bernini’s angel pointing the arrow lower down. This is not just heavenly love; this is very much an earthy human climax. O’ how we fail to take our eyes off of her. Charles de Brosses visiting in 19th century remarked “If this is divine love, I know all about it.”
Since I couldn’t find a good example of artwork which would appeal to our gay and lesbian community, I decided to create one myself, and so I present to you my “Let it Be”. The inspiration behind the work comes from the battles our gay friends are involved in to secure more rights all over the world. USA, France and UK have been in the news recently concerning the legalization of gay marriage, and the offensive comments uttered by certain opposition groups in those countries really show how much ignorance still exist in the democratic developed countries. I really cannot fathom why some people choose to spread hatred for something so human as expression of unity between two people. Some day we will look back at this period of our lives and wonder why we were so benighted. Wish you all a happy Valentine’s Day.