|Love and His Counterfeits (1904)|
This picture needs quite a bit of explanation!
"When a girl's soul awakens and she opens the door of her Heart's Castle to receive Love, at first she will not recognise him.
First, she will see Fear and think him to be Love. Fear, in craven armour of black, with no coat of arms or badge to mark his family. But by Fear, Love may come.
Then she will see Romance, being now in love with 'being in love' - Romance, the Boy on a Bubble with a Castle of Dreams in his hand, and Birds and Roses about him. He leads Ambition, who shall stir the girl to think he is Love himself - Ambition, very hot and eager, riding upon Pegasus, the winged Horse.
After them is Position, whom she may take for Love; but truly she is in love with Appearance, Prestige, Importance, Riches, Place, all his Train, and this is borne by a Cupid.
Now she is stirred by Pity, thinking whom she pities she loves - Pity with the Cup of tears with three handles, that many may drink.
Then she perceives Arts, a brave fellow who is but words and emptiness and a mask for love. Arts paints a wound upon him and sings that it is real. To Love he is not henchman, nor cousin, but enemy.
Behind him goes Flattery with a mirror, so she is wooed by vain words. Then Gratitude comes with the smoke of memory, and she will think she is faithless if she does not love one who has been kind.
Now, at last, after her emotion, her assault by gifts, mirrors, riches, tears, dreams, phrases, memories, comes True Love, empty-handed, to take and win her Heart's Castle."
Perhaps Brickdale's most famous painting is The Uninvited Guest (1906) which depicts Cupid hanging out disconsolately at the fringes of a wedding that is all about wealth, appearance and position. Love is not invited here.
Can't get enough of that ol' Symbolism? Here's Chivalry Dying of Love for the Goddess:
(Note the knights all swooning about somewhat over-dramatically, which has entertained Venus enough to give her pause in the procession of olympians.)
Here's much simpler picture, but still full of drama:
And my absolute fave, Love and Adversity (1900) in which the protagonist is kept company by Love while (one assumes) his Beloved goes off to marry some rich dude.