We Heart ♥️ Valentine

© Andy Warhol “Hearts” 1979

February has long been celebrated as a month of romance. The holiday of February 14th as the day of love contains the vestiges of ancient Roman and Christian tradition. First was part of a three-day feast, Lupercalia, where the ancient Romans practiced rituals in the name of increasing fertility. Late, some believe that it became a day in honor of Saint Valentine by Catholic Church though the legends behind St. Valentine vary depending on who tells the story. At end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius I combined St. Valentine’s Day with Lupercalia, establishing the celebratory festival that has been observed ever since though its association with romantic love did not come until the 14th century.

(1) Jim Dine “Four Hearts, 1971 Signed National Gallerie Berlin Exhibition Poster” 1971 (2) Gary John “True Hearts” 2017

While the history behind the day of love is debatable, what modern Valentine’s Day represents is clear. It is a day for the loved ones to express their devotions to each other. Love is sympathetic, heroic, and courageous. It is to give and to be given. It requires sacrifices, determination, and selflessness. The journey of loving someone or being loved by someone is never straightforward. It is beyond oneself yet, in order for one to truly love the other unconditionally, one must love and accept oneself first.

Raymond Hendler “Swinging Heart (№10)” 1957

What love signifies emotionally can often be expressed visually through the heart symbol, first used to represent the heart-shaped fruit of the plant Silphium, a plant with a possible contraceptive utility, in the 5th-6th century BC. The symbol became associated to love in the 15th century, then popularized in Europe a century later.

© HOUSE OF JUNE™ Original Pattern Design for Surface Material Development A51451CC

“Love is the only reality and it is not a mere sentiment. It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation.” Rabindranath Tagore

József Bartl “Red heart I./Puppet and heart” 1977

In the modern era, artists interpreted the heart shape in ways that broke the traditional boundaries though the metaphoric meaning behind the symbol always relates back to the emotion of love. It is hard to find another symbol to communicate such a consistent message. Regardless of how the shape was executed, what medium the artists used, how the composition was composed, and in what context the object existed, the feeling of love (or lack of it) has always remained.

© Marcel Duchamp “Coeurs Volant (Fluttering Hearts)” 1968

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Tracey Emin “My Heart Is With You Always; But Yea” 2015

The original article was first published at LinkedIN. It contains original pattern designs by our talented designers at HOUSE OF JUNE™ Design Atelier. The sources of images of artworks by various contemporary artists are artsy.net and artnet.com. To subscribe HOUSE OF JUNE™ newsletter for exclusive content and first look at the atelier’s latest design release, you can sign up on the website. HOUSE OF JUNE™ Design Atelier is a Brooklyn-based creative studio. We specialize in creating one-of-kind pattern designs for businesses in fashion, home interior, and hospitality.

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