George Frederic Watts

Love and Life

c.1884–5

Not on display

Artist
George Frederic Watts 1817–1904
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 2222 × 1219 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the artist 1897
Reference
N01641

Display caption

Of all the ‘symbolical’ paintings Watts donated to Tate, he said that ‘probably Love and Life best portrays [my] message to the age.’ Love is represented by the woman on the left, and Life by the winged figure. He described the painting as ‘frail and feeble human existence aided to ascend ... by Love with its wide wings of sympathy, charity, tenderness and human affection’. Watts further explained that the two figures are ‘unclothed for they are only symbols’. In 1893, Watts gave versions of the painting to the national collections in France and the United States.

Gallery label, June 2021

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