Tuesday 14 February 2017

Art in focus: 'The Lovers'

'The Lovers', as you might imagine represents love, relationships and union. It also represents harmony, balance and perfection. The trust, bond and dedication of the lovers incredibly strong. The card has emotional connotations as well as sexual ones, summing up 'The Lovers' in every sense of their connection and union.

Unusually, 'The Lovers' is a tarot with hugely varied depictions depending on deck, I would summise this is because love and relationships is something most people experience personally, so form their own ideals about what love means to them, and thus develop very personalised imagery.
Ancient Tarot decks would often feature a cupid and depict the act of actually falling in love as a snapshot, but more modern interpretations have largely traded this for more deeply emotional, sexual or symbolic approach.
The Rider-Waite depiction shows a nude man and a woman stood below the angel Raphael, who is blessing and protecting the couple. Raphael is the angel of air, which represents communication and its importance in a healthy relationship. The couple are in a lush landscape, suggesting fertility, the scene also has connections with the story of Adam and Eve and the fall of humanity. The card has phallic imagery such as a snake and a mountain, but is not overtly sexual in any way, though many modern artists have taken a much more carnal approach to the card today.  

My Depiction of 'The Lovers' is a somewhat different approach to most. When initially designing the card I wanted it to have intimacy, warmth and express a deep love and passion between the couple which is both emotional and physical. I decided to depict the couple under cover of night,where they are alone with their love and nothing else. The fire represents their passion for each other and their life together, but also the warmth and love in their hearts. The passion and love illuminates their existence and brightens their lives. The couple are within the fires glow, I purposefully left their actions open to interpretation by the viewer, they are either making love, or sat in embrace, either way they are sharing a tender moment which reflects their relationship and love for each other.
They embody unity, harmony and understanding.
The moon blesses their union with his presence and by bathing the couple in moonlight, but he does not look upon them. The moon closes his eyes for their love is for nobody but themselves, it is private and scared, the moon knows and respects this.
The stars form constellations which are related to love and couples, such as Andromeda, Gemini and Orion, suggesting that the universe is aligned in favour of the lovers.
Within the landscape, the mountain is a phallic symbol representing the male, and the river is a fertility symbol representing the female, the two run parallel and at the horizon become one, reaffirming the unity of the lovers.
I wanted my card in contrast with some others to express the true nature of love and lovers. To represent their dedication, connection and emotions without any grandeur or pomp, to simply show the warmth, passion and love in their hearts, and their mental and physical connection and attraction. I was aiming for a down to earth depiction that people could relate to, understand and represented genuine feelings, hopefully I managed to achieve this. 

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