Science of Love

OMNIA VINCIT AMOR: THE ART AND SCIENCE OF LOVE

 Love has many faces. Traditionally depicted in art as a rosy-cheeked boy with blond curls, love appears throughout Western literary history in various guises, sometimes violent, sometimes playful, sometimes mysterious, sometimes beneficent. To Hesiod, Eros – the Greek for love – was one of the oldest, and certainly the fairest, of the gods. To Empedocles, Eros was a primal force, battling with Eris (Strife) for mastery of the cosmos. To Lucretius, love was like a festering wound. In the Middle Ages, Dante described God as “the love that moves the sun and the other stars”. But love had also become a courtly ideal, closely associated with concepts of nobility and chivalry. Wherever love appears, though, and in whatever form, it is always as a powerful force in human life and the universe as a whole. As Virgil put it, omnia vincit amor – love conquers all.

This exhibit presents the many faces of love as they appear in the literature of antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance. It covers both the theories of love found in philosophy and science, from Plato to Leon Abravanel, and more literary accounts of love, including Terence, Ovid, and the Roman de la Rose.

About the Exhibit

This exhibit was curated in 2016 by Timothy Perry. The online version was constructed in 2018 by Kelly Filippone.