Well, I don’t know that it’s properly romantic per se, but I have been intrigued by the manner in which the standard love heart has been replaced, in art and jewellery, by the anatomically correct heart.
This pendant is just one of a variety of anatomically correct hearts that you can purchase for the one you love, especially if the one you love has, like me, a taste for the odd and the macabre.
Hearts like these have been popping up in street art as well, and are as oddly romantic and weirdly appealing to me as the kissing skeletons, work of the street artist VEXTRA.
Melbourne City Council has recently comissioned a refreshing of the street art of Hosier Lane, and I was delighted to see a number of hearts in the collection. There was a more traditional dagger-through-the-heart tattoo design hidden down the back of the building that houses an art collective, but other designs with aortas and muscle were on show as well.
This papered-on arrow-struck heart, which I found near the door of the art collective, is a take on the Cupid-wounded heart. It struck me as blackly humourous and appropriately anguished. Not all love is kind, and passion can be devastating. Sometimes it takes a lot of words to capture what an image can do in moments, and then you can spend hours considering the picture’s significance. This one is open to a lot of interpretation, too.
There was also ‘Keep me in Your Heart’ – a powerful statement, I thought. There’s a lot of talk of hearts and love, even though most of that emotion starts elsewhere in the body. The heart is where we feel it though – the thudding of excitement, the racing ba-bump ba-bump ba-bump of the surging adrenalin, those feel-good chemicals like oxytocin and seretonin zipping through our bodies in our blood, letting us know we’re thinking of, or in the vicinity of, someone we love and desire.
In fact, the heart shape we associate with love apparently originated in the middle ages as a sign of types of foliage in heraldry, and only really became associated with love in the 14th century. It’s also associated with stylised depictions of a woman’s bum or a spread vulva, although those explanations sound apocryphal to me, and Wikipedia agrees.
I do love the new heart designs, though, of muscle and valve, the pumping core that expresses our excitement and joy when we experience love and desire. A reminder that love is not just a feeling – it’s visceral, it’s part of the core of who we are. Love (whether platonic, familial, romantic or erotic) is an important part of being human.
I hope in 2014 that your heart beats strongly for someone and something that you love – and that someone else’s heart beats as strongly for you.
Do you know of a romantic Melbourne experience? Let me know and I will selflessly explore it. SELFLESSLY.