Honor Your Valentine with Art

Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.

— Shakespeare

According to medieval folklore, women should rise early on February 14th—the day the birds mate—because a gentleman always weds the first lady he runs into.

Valentine’s Day was first celebrated in Ancient Rome as the bacchanalian fertility fest Lupercalia.

Its celebration was continued in the Mediaeval Age, but in a sanitized version the Catholic Church decided would commemorate the martyr St. Valentine.

By romanticizing St. Valentine’s Day, Shakespeare popularized the holiday during the Renaissance. Inspired by mentions of Valentine’s Day in Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, gentlemen were soon giving flowers, candy, and handmade cards to their wives and lovers.

Today, those romantic gift-giving traditions continue, in the US alone producing over $22 billion in retail sales.

But why be a slave to tradition?

While cards, chocolates, wine, jewelry, perfume, teddy bears and lingerie are fine, they’re maddeningly obvious.

Giving your lover an original oil painting may be the far better sign of your feelings:

• For couples who cherish Valentine’s Day, no other gift can convey so much personal meaning.

• For couples who’ve exhausted the traditional options, an original painting can be a novel token of love.

• For couples who want a constant reminder of their bond, an original painting lasts long after the flowers have wilted and the candy gone stale.

• And for singles, an original painting beats binging on a box of chocolates you bought for yourself, or dining alone in front of “Roman Holiday.”

This Valentine’s Day, honor your lover with the gift of art.

Above: Flowers. Oil on canvas.  12 x 16 inches. Ships framed and ready to hang. Calorie count: Zero.