Art That Symbolizes Love

Woman in warehouse with heart made of balloons
Anthony Harvie / Getty Images

If you were painting a Valentine's card, you'd want the signs of your love to be clear and noticeable. But if you were painting a portrait, you could also add some hidden symbolism about love that someone looking at the painting may only understand subconsciously.

  • Red: The color associated with love and passion.
  • Heart: From Christianity comes the belief that the heart is the seat of our emotions, particularly love. In Islam, the heart is our spiritual center. A heart symbol is used to replace the word 'love'.
  • Lips: Used for kissing and therefore associated with passion. A kiss by a pair of lips painted with bright red lipstick leaves a print showing something was sealed with love.
  • Heart pierced by an arrow: Cupid or Eros shoots an arrow into a heart, causing the person to fall passionately in love. It explains why love is both pleasurable and painful.
  • Broken heart: A symbol of the loss of love, most often of a spurned or rejected lover, and the pain of this. The term 'heartbroken' is used for extreme sadness and grief.
  • Cupid: The Roman god of love, represented by a winged boy carrying a bow and arrow with which to piece his victim's heart, causing them to fall in love.
  • Eros: The Greek god of love, also represented by a winged boy carrying a bow and arrow.
  • Rosemary: A symbol for fidelity as well as remembrance.
  • Mistletoe: Standing under the mistletoe at Christmas gives anyone the opportunity to kiss you.
  • Wedding rings: Represent permanency, "until death us do part". (This may scare off your man, though!)
  • Roses: Red roses symbolize love and passion. White roses symbolize virginity and purity. Yellow roses symbolize jealousy and infidelity.
  • Jasmine: This strongly scented, white flower is used as a Hindu symbol for love.
  • Chocolate: And, of course, better than any bunch of flowers, is chocolate! A box of chocolates has romantic connotations, the gift of a lover. Not to mention the supposed aphrodisiac properties of chocolate.
  • Osram Ne Nsoroma: The Adinkra (West Africa) symbol representing love consisting of a star (the woman) and the moon (the man).