Finding Romance at the Cleveland Museum of Art

There is no better way to get ready for the upcoming season of love than by checking in with our favorite couples at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Stop by solo or with your significant other to meet our lovebirds and get a lesson in romance.
While the attribution remains hotly debated, this work exemplifies how Italian portraiture of the 1500s could articulate family alliances through marriage. The inscription gives the sitters’ ages as 32 and 28, and their elaborate jewelry, weapons, and garments, made of expensive materials, convey their elite status. 
Portrait of a Couple, c. 1580-1588. Northern Italy, late 16th century. Oil on canvas, Framed - h:132.00 w:173.00 d:10.50 cm (h:51 15/16 w:68 1/16 d:4 1/8 inches). Unframed - h:99.80 w:140.50 cm (h:39 1/4 w:55 5/16 inches). Holden Collection 1916.793.

In this porcelain piece an elegant couple serenades each other while sitting on a tall-backed, Baroque settee. He plays a transverse flute, she an English guitar.

Figural Group: Musicians, c. 1737, manufacturer Meissen Porcelain Factory (German), modeled by Johann Joachim Kändler (German, 1706-1775). Porcelain, Overall - h:20.00 w:29.20 d:16.70 cm (h:7 13/16 w:11 7/16 d:6 9/16 inches). Gift of Rosenberg & Stiebel, Inc. 1952.2. 


An interpretation of Italian street performers found in Paris at the time, these youths enjoy the leisure life of Parisian elites. A playful garden party such as this one would have created the perfect opportunity to share ones feelings. 

Declaration of Love, 1690-1743, Nicolas Lancret (French, 1690-1743). Oil on Canvas, Framed - h:103.00 w:90.50 d:9.00 cm (h:40 1/2 w:35 5/8 d:3 1/2 inches) Unframed - h:80.10 w:64.00 cm (h:31 1/2 w:25 3/16 inches). Elisabeth Severance Prentiss Collection.


Based on the poem by Dante, The Devine Comedy, two men encounter the lovers Paolo and Francesca on a visit to hell. Francesca, although in love with Paolo, was forced to marry his deformed brother. She kept an affair with Palo anyway and when her husband discovered them he murdered them both, sentencing them to hell for their adultery. 

Dante and Virgil Meeting the Shades of Francesca da Rimini and Paolo, 1851. Ary Scheffer (Dutch, 1795-1858). Oil on fabric, Framed - h:45.50 w:53.00 d:7.50 cm (h:17 7/8 w:20 13/16 d:2 15/16 inches) Unframed - h:24.70 w:33.20 cm (h:9 11/16 w:13 1/16 inches) Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1980.40.


Two newlyweds share a chaste embrace amongst a sea of symbolism. The artist subtly shares their story of devoted love, modesty, youth, and health.  The painting was once joined to a second panel which depicted the same couple, now decayed and hideous, an unnecessary reminder that all love faces death. 

A Bridal Couple, c. 1470. Southern Germany, 15th century. Oil on panel, Framed - h:77.50 w:51.00 d:8.09 cm (h:30 1/2 w:20 1/16 d:3 1/8 inches) Unframed - h:62.30 w:36.50 cm (h:24 1/2 w:14 5/16 inches). Delia E. Holden and L. E. Holden Funds 1932.179. 


Though closely related to the style of modeling developed at Meissen by Kaendler, this group was executed by his chief assistant, Eberlein. The intense colors of the figural decorations are characteristic of Meissen production before about 1750.

The Lovers, c. 1740. Manufacturer Meissen Porcelain Factory (German), modeled by Johann Friedrich Eberlein (German, 1696-1749). Porcelain with enamel decoration, Overall - h:15.25 w:15.25 cm (h:6 w:6 inches). Gift of Judge Irwin Untermyer 1950.79



This loving couple once was part of the now perished Purana Mahadeya Temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Erotic imagery was once an important aspect of Hindu Temples meant to show the beauty and abundance of the created world. 

Lovers (Mithuna), c. 973. Northwestern India, Rajasthan, Sikar, Harshagiri, Pratihara Dynasty, 10th Century. Sandstone with limestone wash, Overall - h:35.25 w:34.29 cm (h:13 7/8 w:13 1/2 inches). Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1962.165. 


This genre developed by artist Jean Antoine Watteau was meant to showcase the conversation, music, dance, and pursuit of love in the French court. The couple depicted in this painting performs the minuet, a most flirtatious dance. 

Dancers in a Pavilion, 1720s. Jean-Baptiste Pater (French, 1695-1736). Oil on canvas, Framed - h:79.50 w:70.00 d:10.50 cm (h:31 1/4 w:27 1/2 d:4 1/8 inches. 


 The reason behind love itself, here Cupid is depicted by artist Johann Liss, who beautifully echoes the Caravaggio style and vibrant colors of Venetian painting. 

Johann Liss, Cupid (Amor), c. 1630. Johann Liss (German, c. 1597-12631). Oil on canvas, Framed - h:108.00 w:86.00 d:6.50 cm (h:42 1/2 w:33 13/16 d:2 1/2 inches)Unframed - h:87.70 w:65.70 cm (h:34 1/2 w:25 13/16 inches). Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1971.100. 


> Visit the Cleveland Museum of Art 
> Bourbon, Bubbles, and Baubles: Dining and Shopping for Valentine's Day
> Art Inspired Romance: Pinterest Board



Blog Archive