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Say it with Art This Valentine's Day

  • 4 min read

We have the ideal solution this Valentine’s Day for getting round the difficulties suffered by those who fear the paralysing verbal-emotional vortex. Instead of struggling to find the appropriate words to tell someone how you feel, we suggest finding the perfect piece of art to timelessly and eleoquently express your affections.

To reassure you of the effectiveness of this method I need only mention the rom com classic Notting Hill. In this paradigm of romance the beguiling actress Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) uses Marc Chagall’s painting La Mariée (The Bride) to great effect in her pursual of the floppy haired bookshop owner Will Thacker (Hugh Grant). Anna gives Will the painting as dramatic expression of the words she can’t bring herself to say, this “feels how love should be – floating through a dark blue sky.”

The colourful painting by the Jewish-Russian born painter Marc Chagall depicts a young bride, her husband, and a violin-playing goat. Many of Chagall’s works were inspired by his love for his deceased wife Bella Rosenfeld Chagall who died in 1944. The beautiful, haunting, and deeply romantic work tells Will that “Happiness is not happiness without a violin playing goat”, and is instrumental to their happy ending.

With this inspiring success story in mind we take a look at some prints which might just express exactly how you feel…

If you want to tell someone “All of the words in the world are worth nothing if we cannot be together” then 'All of the Words in the World' really is the perfect work of art. The limited edition silkscreen is by the master paper cutter artist Rob Ryan and was created for the British Heart Foundation Art Appeal. It depicts an intricate, whimsical scene in which a couple open their hearts to each other, entwined in the intricate lettering of the unashamedly romantic phrase. Rob Ryan likes the idea of the heart being a place that you store things – a depository of emotions – hence the doors in the picture. He says “it’s a very simple idea about two people letting each other into their lives, secrets, dreams and hopes.” The print just says it more succinctly and decoratively.

Choose a Joe Webb to give a vintage glow to your chivalrous declaration. Antares and Love IV says, “when you’re in my arms I explode with exhilaration and I feel like I’m full of stars and floating in a galaxy of happiness”. Antares is a red supergiant star in the Milky Way galaxy and the 16th brightest star in the night sky. Matt glaze, collaged elements and mirror-board enhance the expression so that your loved one cannot fail to grasp your sparkling metaphor.

This simple, evocative line drawing by Lester Magoogan speaks volumes. It says, “We have a connection”, “We are one” and “Love needn’t be complicated.” This minimalist approach could be ideal for those with a sense of humour.

Sometimes ones amorous feelings can’t be adequately expressed in the image of a fluffy kitten or a cuddly teddy. Sometime what you really need is a gruesome glittery heart, like ‘Bleeding Heart’ by Trafford Parsons.

This anatomical screen print of a heart bleeding red glitter draws on the history of religious paintings of Jesus’ sacred heart. The sacred heart is often depicted in Christian art as a flaming heart shining with divine light, pierced by the lance-wound, encircled by the crown of thorns, surmounted by a cross, and bleeding. It is a widely practiced Roman Catholic devotion which takes Jesus’ physical heart as the representation of his divine love for humanity.

Add the weight of religious iconography to your romantic revelation with this show stopping limited edition print. The intense and powerful image says “I would bleed for you”, “I would die for you”, “I devote myself to you” and “You are divine, I worship you.”

Interestingly, Henry VIII took this approach when wooing Anne Boleyn, using an illuminated Christian devotional book (Anne Boleyn’s Book of Hours c1528) to illustrate his burning desire.

Choose Dan Innes'Where to Darlin’?’ if you want to suggest that your relationship is going places… This fun and vibrant street art print, which is available in Valentine’s friendly lilac, soft pink, and baby blue, says “You can count on me. I’m strong and exciting and with my handy gadgets I’m going to show you the world.” It’s a sanguine statement which would attract any transport-challenged beloved with its generous offer.

Love is at the centre of David Spiller’s work. As a child of the 60s The Beatles song ‘All You Need is Love’ is like a mission statement for him. In fact, the veteran of the British Pop Art movement fills the flat fields of colour in his prints with snatched lyrics. In a recent interview David Spiller pulled a phrase from a painting at random, “To make you feel my love”, and said “Bob Dylan, I think? Maybe that’s why I’m doing it. Maybe I’m an innocent and I’m doing it to be loved.”

Spiller’s latest limited edition release, ‘We Can Touch the Stars’ features his trademark scrawled song lyrics, including “Angels watch you”, “Let it Be”, and “Somewhere someone loves you… that someone was always me…” These words add a poetic intensity and romantic depth to the bold heart image. The print is an unambiguous act of homage. It confidently claims that “we can touch the stars because our love is out of this world.” Spiller’s ‘Love is the Light’ and ‘If Not For You’, could also be perfect for those looking for a nostalgic and innocent statement of devotion.

To explore more art print options in your quest for the perfect visual metaphor check our Art for Lovers pages…

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