Experience Love Stories From The National Portrait Gallery, London in Naples

A woman views art in an art gallery.

What does love look like? For centuries, artists have worked to answer that question in portraits. Whether it be on canvas, in sculpture, or on film, they have used their talents to capture the relationships between their subjects.

You can discover for yourself the many shapes love takes as revealed in Love Stories from the National Portrait Gallery, London. This groundbreaking exhibition was assembled by the National Portrait Gallery of London, England, and is now on display at Artis—Naples, The Baker Museum through May 7.

Art is displayed on a gallery wall.

Love Stories features records of relationships throughout time, as far back as the 16th century.

Featured artists include Sir Joshua Reynolds, Angelica Kauffman, Man Ray, Lee Miller, David Hockney, and others.

Love and desire have been critical components of English portraiture since the English Renaissance in the 16th Century, with portraits serving as visual records of relationships, memorials to loved ones past, or as tokens of affection.

Whatever their purpose, Love Stories reveals its assembled portraits as enduring records that embody the deep feelings of the subjects long beyond their own time on this earth.

The exhibition encompasses some of history’s most famous relationships, including poets Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning, Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas, and even John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

“A portrait does not merely record someone’s features,” scholar Jean Sorabella wrote for The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2007, “but says something about who he or she is, offering a vivid sense of a real person’s presence.”

We can extend that notion to the couples presented in these portraits and the relationship the paintings present to the viewer.

Man views a piece of art in a gallery.

Love Stories runs through May 7, 2023.

But portraits haven’t always been as simple as an artist recreating a subject on canvas or film. The lengthy time involved in sitting for a portrait often built intimate connections between artists and subjects. it even inspired written works by poets such as Browning or Ben Johnson, according to Adam Eaker, associate curator of European paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“The texts, including some of the greatest poems in the English language, help us to understand why portraits have held such a central position in English culture – and why they continue to exert such fascination up to the present day,” Eaker says.

In Love Stories, visitors are enthralled by romances – be they brief flings or lifelong love affairs – that remind us all about how wonderful it feels to be loved.

Don’t miss this moving and unforgettable exhibition at the Baker Museum. Click here to learn more and schedule your visit.