Theme of Love Representation from 1350 to 1850

Artists in the Previous Eras

Artists in the previous have often used their works to portray one-of-a-kind themes such as love, faith, death or even symbolize men and women at some point of their times.

The Theme of Love

The theme of love has been a subject of interest for a number of artists with most of them seeking to bring out the love that is shared inside settings such as the family. The theme is indeed clear for various artworks from 1350 to 1850. While the artists used distinct mediums and techniques to portray their ideas, one component that comes out is that love was among their central themes. It is consequently ideal to analyze artworks from these distinct intervals to find out how the theme of love was portrayed during these times. An analysis of four select artworks from 1350 to 1850 reveals the theme of love in the family, between parents and between people that belong to the same group.


The Last Supper by Pedro Berruguete demonstrates the New Testament narrative of Jesus' meal with his followers on the evening that Judas deceived Him. It is evident that there is a sense of belongingness and love among the men. Through facial expressions and gestures, some of the men seem to be engaged in lively conversations while one of the men places his head on Jesus' breast. The disciples and Jesus were fundamentally united by the gospel, Jesus showed the love as well as unconditional support.

Christ is placed in the middle of the long table with twelve men, six on his right and six on the left. Notably, all men are in gold crowns except one who is in a black crown. The woman has long hair and a pot can be seen beside her. The painter has used naturalism as in his style has employed real-life actions to allow the audience to experience the event and the painting is in two dimension. Berruguete has placed all elements in a way that visual weights are evenly distributed. Rhythm is achieved in the painting through the arrangement of the men who stand next to each other. Further, there is alternating rhythm through the golden crowns that the men are wearing.


“Virgin adoring the Christ Child with St. John the Baptist and Two Angels,” is tempera and oil on panel, c.1500-1520 artwork by Tommaso. The artwork which is two-dimensional and has a smooth text shows two children and three women, two of whom are angles. The artist uses the element of color superbly to portray the different components For example, the color green is used to portray the natural environment at the background of image. The horizon is also portrayed in the colors white and blue. Additionally, the artist also used contour lines to portray the shapes of various parts of the body and the garments. Moreover, the artist also achieves balance by combining the different elements of art. Additionally, there is also the use of rhythm as the artists uses the elements repetitively to achieve visual tempo.

The theme of love as portrayed in this artwork is that shared between family members. The mother in the image looks at the child adorably, and this showing her love. The angels are also looking at the child admiringly, and this also brings out the theme of love. In essence, the woman and angel in the artwork are showing their love for the child. From the artwork, it is clear that the theme of love consumed artists during this era. In general, the artists portrayed love from the biblical perspective, by portraying the theme using biblical characters.


The artwork “The Raising of Lazarus,” is oil on canvas painting c.1711 by Jean Jouvenet. The image portrays the events that surrounded the raising of Lazarus by Christ. The artist combines various elements of art to bring out these event. Firstly, the lighting is the image is dim due to the fact that Lazarus had been buried in a tomb. There is also the use of color which helped the artist achieve balance in the image by portraying the component in multiple colors. Furthermore, the spacing in the painting also allows the viewer to see how the different components are portrayed.

The theme of love as portrayed in this painting is between family members and friends. Lazarus’s death had caused notable disappointments among his sisters and friends such as Jesus. By raising him from death, Jesus shows his love for him, and this can be seen in his facial expression in the artwork. The love that the various people in the painting shared with Lazarus was indeed significant as all of them are seen to be joyous once he is raised. Like other paintings from this era, the biblical perspective influenced the artist’s choice of theme. Love in this case is portrayed by the use of a biblical story and characters.


The picture showcases three adults and two children, notably, the modeling of the heads of all the figures as well as the bodies of the two children is strong. The background of the painting is black. The paint contains bold coloring, lively contours of the figures as well as vigorous modeling. Emphasis arises as a result of the woman in the center who becomes the focal point. Her garments are colored blue and red which are more saturated as compared to the colors of the other garments. Moreover, the woman is placed at the center of swirling figures. The painting is a two-dimensional image, the artist uses the technique of naturalism as in the paints are visible and there is a perception of movement developed for the viewer.

The Holy Family with St. Elizabeth, St. John and a Dove by Paul Rubens captures the theme of love. The children are cheerful, Jesus pulls the dove from the hands of Saint John who is still grasping some of its feathers. The playful nature of the holy children demonstrates their innocence while the adults devoutly look on. The painting captures a remarkable family moment that entails a strong bondage. The atmosphere is tranquil and all the characters in the painting have smiles on their faces, the adult's concentration is entirely on the two children, a gesture of love.


Conclusively, the theme of love through the four selected artworks from1350 to 1850 is portrayed through families and other groups of people. All the artworks although from different periods portray the theme of love from a biblical perspective. The love that is shared among family members and friends is portrayed in each of the artworks examined though from a different perspective. In general, the theme of love was of interest for most artists from the period of 1350 to 1850, and it will continue to influence how artists portray their works even in the contemporary world.


Pedro Berruguete and Workshop - The Last Supper, c.1495-1500, Distemper on linen

Tommaso - Virgin Adoring the Christ Child with St. John the Baptist and Two Angels, c.1500-1520, Tempera and oil on panel

Jean Jouvenet - The Raising of Lazarus, c.1711, Oil on canvas

Peter Paul Rubens - The Holy Family with St. Elizabeth, St. John and a Dove, c.1609, Oil on wood

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