Artful Romance

Chang-e and Hou Yi

Waiting, she finds her silk stockings
soaked with the dew drops
glistening on the marble steps.
Finally, she is moving
to let the crystal-woven curtain fall
when she casts one more glance
at the glamorous autumn moon.
     Li Bai, aka Li Po (701-762)
     An Imperial Concubine Waiting at Night
     Moon Goddess

Rudolph Valentino & Vilma Bánky
Son of the Sheik

Give me a kiss before you leave me
And my imagination will feed my hungry heart
Leave me one thing before we part
A kiss to build a dream on
. . .
Give me your lips for just a moment
And my imagination will make that moment live
Give me what you alone can give
A kiss to build a dream on.
     Louis Armstrong (1951)
Kisses To Remember

Auguste Rodin (1886)
The Kiss

One day, to pass the time away, we read
of Lancelot— how love had overcome him.
We were alone, and we suspected nothing.

And time and time again that reading led
our eyes to meet, and made our faces pale,
and yet one point alone defeated us.

When we had read how the desired smile
was kissed by one who was so true a lover,
this one, who never shall be parted from me,

while all his body trembled, kissed my mouth.
     Dante (1265-1321)
     Translated by Allen Mandelbaum
    Paolo and Francesca

Antoine Watteau (1720)
Judgment of Paris

Some say
A company of horsemen
Others a legion of foot soldiers
And others a fleet of ships
Is the most beautiful to behold on this black earth
I say The most beautiful
Is whomever
One loves. 
     Sappho (7th century BC)
     Beauty Is In The Eye Of Beholder
    Judgment of Paris (For the Most Beautiful)

Marina Abramovic (1977)
Breathing In/Breathing Out

I could stay awake,
just to hear you breathing.
Watch you smile while you are sleeping,
While you're far away and dreaming.
     Aerosmith (1998)
I Don't Want To Miss A Thing

Mark Chagall (1961)
First Kiss

About Daphnis and Chloe

Love, my children, is a god, young and beautiful and winged.
That's why he delights in youth and pursues beauty
  and gives wings to the soul.
And he can do greater things than Zeus himself.
He has power over the elements, he has power over the stars,
The flowers are all Love's handiwork.
These trees are his creation.
He is the reason why rivers run and winds blow.
There is no medicine for Love, nothing you can drink
and nothing you can eat and no magic spell that you can say.
The only remedies are kissing and embracing and lying down together...
     Longus (3rd century AD)
     Daphnis and Chloe

John William Waterhouse (1888)
The Lady of Shalott

Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they cross'd themselves for fear,
All the knights at Camelot:
But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott."
     Alfred Tennyson (1843)
     The Lady of Shalott

13th Century Illustration
Krishna and Radha

She ornaments her limbs,
When a leaf quivers or a feather falls,
Suspecting your coming,
She spreads out the bed
And waits long in meditation.
Making her bed of ornaments and fantasies,
She evokes a hundred details of you
In her own graceful play.
But the frail girl will not survive
Tonight without you.
     Jayadeva (12th century)
     Gita Govinda, The Story of Krishna and Radha,
     Part 6, "Sakhi Talks to Krishna"
     Trans. by Barbara Stoller Miller

Gustav Klimt (1907)

The story of Zeus and Danae

Jove for Europa’s love, took shape of Bull;
And for Calisto, played Diana’s part:
and in a golden shower, he filled full
The lap of Danae, with celestial art.
Would I were changed but to my Mistress’ gloves,
That those white lovely fingers I might hide!
That I might kiss those hands, which mine heart loves!
. . .
Or that sweet wine, which down her throat doth trickle,
To kiss her lips, and lie next at her heart,
Run through her veins, and pass by Pleasure’s part!
     Barnabe Barnes (1593)
     Sonnet LXIII

Paul Prosper Tillier (1860)
Leda and Swan

Ah kingly kiss--
No more regret
Nor old deep memories
To mar the bliss;
Where the low sedge is thick,
The gold day-lily
Outspreads and rests
Beneath soft fluttering
Of red swan wings
     Hilda Doolittle (1921)
     Leda and Swan

Antonio Canova (1757-1822)
Amor and Psyche

Venus, jealous of Psyche's beauty, ...

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
     William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
     He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Henri de Toulouse Lautrec (1864-1901)
The Bed

Sigh, heart, and break not; rest, lark, and
      wake not!
   Day I hear coming to draw my love away.
As mere-waves whisper, and clouds grow
   Ah, like a rose he will waken up with day.
     Baron de Tabley (1835-1895)
     Nuptial Song

Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
Dance at Bougival

Let us dance!
Surprisingly I loved her eyes,
Clearer than the starry skies;
I loved their swift surprise.
Let us dance!
     Paul Verlaine (1844-1896)

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912)
Welcome Footsteps

My heart is like a singing bird
  Whose nest is in a watered shoot;
My heart is like an apple tree
  Whose boughs are bent with thickest fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
  That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
  Because my love is come to me.
     Christina Rosetti (1830-1894)
     A Birthday

Adrien Moreau (1834-1906)
The Proposal

O my luve's like a red, red rose
  That's newly sprung in June:
O my luve's like the melodie
  That's sweetly play'd in tune.
. . .
Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
  And the rocks melt wi' the sun;
I will luve thee still, my dear,
  While the sands o' life shall run.
     Robert Burns (1759-1796)
     A Red, Red Rose

John J. Lee (active 1850-1860)
Sweethearts and Wives

A lover is easily found, but someone who
is everything at once and who would leave
you an orphan, a widow, and friendless, if he
left you, would be a miracle. You are that
miracle--I adore you!
     Colette (1873-1954)
     Young Lady of Paris

Haynes King (1831-1904)
Jealousy and Flirtation

Oh, the sweet lies lurk in kisses!
  Oh, the charm of make-believe!
Oh, to be deceived sweet bliss is,
  Bliss still sweeter to deceive!
     Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)
     Oh, the Sweet Lies Lurk in Kisses!