Romantic Paintings

In a world that is full of despair and sorrow, and that is often grey, and beset by loneliness, romance is often humanity’s reprieve. Romance is the magic we savour in the midst of the world’s broader and our more personal problems. It is escapism and a window into a better life. It lifts us up when we are low. It fills us with hope and dreams when life seems bitter and unrelenting. 

Romanticism in art was in fact a movement that permeated Europe in the 1800’s. It was an artistic, intellectual, and literary movement created as a reaction to the classicism, and Neoclassicism movements that preceded it. Where Classicism was conservative and traditional, Romanticism was full of emotion and imagination. Artists portrayed scenes of love, beauty, and drama that were aimed to provide an escape from reality.

Some of the most famous paintings from the Romanticism era are Third Of May (1814) by Francisco Goya, The Raft of The Medusa (1818) by Theodore Gericault, The Hay Wain (1821) by John Constable, Liberty Leading The People (1830) by Eugene Delacroix, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (c.1818) by Caspar David Friedrich and The Kiss (1859) by Francesco Hayez.

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  • Romantic Painting The Kiss, Francesco Hayez 1859

    The Kiss, Francesco Hayez 1859

  • Romantic Painting Liberty Leading the People, Eugene Delacroix 1830

    Liberty Leading the People, Eugene Delacroix 1830

  • Romantic paintings, Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog

    Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog c.1818

Theo’s artwork has always been romantic

He has always had an eye for escapism and explicitly romantic settings. His artwork is always a journey into human stories that lift us out of the mire and ignite our dreams. Even ordinary details are presented in a way to celebrate them, and show their unheralded extraordinary qualities. The most simple characteristics are depicted with a subtle grandeur and panache. In developing his romantic style Theo is on a constant journey of discovery, learning and sharing a little bit more about the people and places that he paints, and what makes them so special. 

Balcony With A View

  • Romantic Painting  Balcony With A View by Theo Michael, an oil painting of a couple overlooking a seafront promenade in Cyprus,

    In the oil painting Balcony With A View a couple embrace on a balcony gazing down to a summertime Cypriot beach. The buildings cast a long shadow and our subjects are dressed in fine evening wear. The elegant red dress of the woman is highlighted and helps focus the painting. The angles of the painting are superb and guide the viewer from the foreground to the expansive background view.
    We wonder about the couple and where they will be spending their evening. We wonder about the man whose stature is so strong and compelling. If we look closely we can see the woman’s engagement ring further lending romance to the picture.
    Balcony With A View, oil painting by Theo Michael 2008

The Gallery Attendant

  • Romantic painting, The Gallery Attendant by Theo Michael, an oil painting featuring a couple enjoying a drink at an art gallery

    A similar setting of romance is depicted in The Gallery Attendant where a couple sit on a bench as a security guard watches on. The woman sips on a glass of white wine as her man gazes to his left. The artwork itself features incredible details of a woman sitting by a bench, an open field, and a beautiful summer cottage. The woman’s legs are peaking out of her dark crimson dress, with beautiful black high heels. The man is dressed immaculately in a suit and bow tie. They both appear to be looking off to the right gazing at some other piece of art, even though they are the painting’s centre of attention.
    The Gallery Attendant, oil painting by Theo Michael May 2020

Sea Of Love

  • Romantic Painting Sea Of Love by Theo Michael, featuring a couple in an embrace in a seaside setting

    In Sea Of Love a delicate brunette lays on a man’s shoulder as he sips at a glass of whiskey. A gramophone is in the foreground and we can just imagine the slow and seductive music that the subjects of the painting are listening to. The man wears a fedora hat and in the background we can see a brilliant bush of red flowers as well as the ocean glistening in the sunshine. The tied down curtains are full of the fluttering wind, and a burst of light. The couple relax seductively enjoying the moment and the music, and each other's glorious company.
    Sea Of Love, oil painting by Theo Michael February 2017

Strolling On The Promenade

  • Romantic Painting Strolling On The Promenade an oil painting by Theo Michael

    In Strolling On The Promenade a man gallantly helps to cover a woman from the falling rain with his umbrella. This act of chivalry is met with the expression of nonchalance on the woman’s face as the man pays close attention to her. The female subject bears a passing resemblance to Kim Basinger in the movie LA Confidential. Modern cars parked along the pavement contrast sharply with the classical scene alongside an impressive gazebo on the left lending a sense of urban activity.

    Strolling On The Promenade, oil painting by Theo Michael March 2009.

A Kiss Is Just A Kiss

  • Romantic painting, The Kiss an oil painting by Theo Michael of a couple kissing at the steps of the Acropolis in Greece

    A grandiose setting of landmark historical pillars, The Acropolis Athens Greece, is the backdrop for A Kiss Is Just A Kiss. The pillars peer down from on high as a couple are enraptured in their passionate love affair. The sun beams from the sky with a sprinkling of clouds and once again Theo uses red to create focus and contrast, in the centre of the painting, with the woman’s dress and the man’s tie. This is a painting of unrestrained passion that immediately sweeps up the viewer into the couple’s affair. We are left to wonder whether it is a fleeting romance, or something more long lasting.

    A Kiss Is Just A Kiss, oil painting by Theo Michael June 2012

Veuve Clicquot

  • Romantic painting Veuve Clicquot by Theo Michael

    Veuve Clicquot is the name of the bottle of champagne that is the star of this more restrained and subtle offering from Theo. A beautiful portrait of a couple about to enjoy a glass of champagne. In the distance there is a romantic yellow convertible car that further adds a sense of drama to the scene, and tells us a little about the day of the character’s on display. It looks as though they are by the beach with just a hint of the ocean in the far distance.

    Veuve Clicquot, oil painting by Theo Michael August 2018

A New Horizon

  • Romantic painting A New Horizon, an oil painting by Theo Michael of a couple overlooking the Hudson River in New York

    A New Horizon is one of my favourite paintings by Theo. This is a painting of poise and posture with both the man and woman standing elegantly together admiring the city skyline. Skyscrapers glare down from on high in the background and the couple wear muted tones of clothing, both wearing overcoats with the New York Hudson River and a railing in front of them. This is a painting that accentuates the moment, with the woman’s hand resting on the man’s shoulder, punctuating the picture with an emotional beat. We wonder what they have been talking about and doing together, and what brings them to this moment that we see. The details in their hair are immaculate, and the painting is almost lifelike. It seems to be, almost, a perfect painting, as if it were alive, it transports us immediately into the occasion.

    A New Horizon, oil painting by Theo Michael August 2021

Romantic Paintings

It is plain to see that in Theo’s work there is always a deep passion and drama. Romance remains something that is unquantifiable and yet Theo always finds a way to surprise us with it, and enrich the viewer with
his unfettered perspective on love and attraction. These are pictures of everyday life and yet they depict scenes that are exceptional and unusual.
There is an enormous range on display here, with different colour palettes that take us on a journey into a magical world. These are paintings that  aren’t intended to make us think, but to make us feel, transporting us into a different parallel universe, where, like in the movies, the guy gets the girl, and the music is always playing. In Theo's showroom and gallery Romance isn’t dead, it is alive and well, eschewing the conventional for the subtle and the sublime.

As French artist, Marc Chagall, once said, "Art must be
an expression of love, or it is nothing."

Author Marc Michael, April 2nd 2022