Valentine’s Day holds as a special day for loved ones and lovers alike all around the world. The holiday originated in Italy honoring a Roman Christian martyr named Saint Valentino whose story established the celebration in many regions of the world. Now we recognize the patron saint of love and how his legacy influenced many other artists to create pieces inspired by the idea of romance.
St. Valentine was recognized as a significant person in the Catholic Church who died around A.D. 270. Legend has it, he defied Emperor Claudius’s orders and secretly married couples to spare the husbands from war. Another common tale claimed that St. Valentine signed a letter “from your Valentine” to his jailer’s daughter, whom he had befriended and healed from blindness.
The legendary saint has also been confused as two people – one account in the 1400s describes Valentine as the temple priest and another claims that he was the Bishop of Terni. Both stories state that he was killed by Claudius II on the outskirts of Rome. Due to the similarities of these accounts, it’s thought they may refer to the same person.
Despite the confusion surrounding the true identity of St. Valentine, his name remains on its list of officially recognized saints. His courageous acts of service in the name of love earned him the namesake holiday.
Valentine’s Day has allowed many creatives to express and commemorate the idea of romance.
Artists have always been incredibly inspired by the idea of love and have created many artistic and cultural connotations symbolizing it. Even the idea of cupid is a cultural and historical phenomenon humorous to many as it uses a putto (an angelic baby) illustrated in much of Italian Renaissance and Rococo art. Cupid came from Roman mythology which means “to desire” and derives from the Latin word cupere. Cupid along with his bows and arrows became a representation of love and romance along with other symbols and illustrations.
Discover Interi’s interpretation of the classic symbols of love using our sculptural and mineralized 18th century Italian artifacts with the following pieces below:
This 18th century Italian putto has been affectionately called “Chancy” by the Interi girls when Jean started creating the piece. It has been joined together with rose quartz which is the mineral of universal love. It is adorned with gold leaf shells which coordinate with the gold leaf in the putto’s wings.
18th century Italian angel wings mounted on calcite crystal in matrix from Elmwood Mine in Tennessee. With the unusual formation of sphalerite, the calcite crystal is unequaled by those from any other part of the world (referenced from the “American Mineral Treasure” book, pg. 337). The wings are reminiscent of two people kissing and even portray a “twin flame” combined with the pointed orange calcite crystals coming from the sphalerite that give a firey appearance.
18th century Italian mecca arrowheads with baroque pearls on polished calcite bases. These historical arrowheads are very reminiscent of Cupid’s own darts of romance.
Two’s a Pair
Pair of 18th century Italian candlestick tops with fossil agate coral and baroque pearls. The fossil agate coral is one coral head cut to make two halves. Although they make up one complete piece together, the two halves are not symmetrical but unique in their own way. The pair of agate coral is mounted onto the candlestick tops which once lit candles and exuded light. Now the pair is symbolic of a real-life couple — making up a complete whole while each is beautiful and unique in its own way.
We hope these pieces inspired you and made you think of someone special. Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Valentine’s Day!
The Interi Girls