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The Elevenses blog – February Valentine’s Greetings!

In an effort to be more cohesive in my hitherto fun but scattergun approach, I’ve decided to work on a theme a month for my weekly Elevenses. This means that I can plan in advance, advertise what’s coming up and take the opportunity to use the material for my blog. Project Edutainment (I must find it a proper title!) isn’t forgotten; this is all about making space in my brain and diary to concentrate on the bigger picture.

So, the obvious theme for February is St Valentine. Being me, however, I wanted to do more than scratch the surface. Did you know that there is a possible connection between Greek mythology and Valentine’s Day? I had to verify the article that introduced me to this idea with a good delve into ancient Greek and Roman sources to be sure my facts were correct, and indeed both Plutarch and Livy were happy to confirm this link. Who knew? With some Greek mythology and stories of young men running amok in the streets written about for week 1, clearly the mysterious St Valentine himself had to be addressed. The Catholic Online website is absolutely sure that I’m a curious catholic nibbling around the edges of what they have to offer as I do tend to visit quite often just to get an overview before I invariably head off on another tangent. My tangent this time was the first recorded Valentine’s Day greetings. What I absolutely love about art history is that there are always connections to be made. This one is between ‘Mad Charles VI’ of France of Bal des Ardents fame, and the first ever Valentine written. The discovery made me so happy, as did writing about Cupid. The Valentine offering per se, as in the episode nearest to Valentine’s Day, is all about an aspect of this cheeky chappie that is rarely discussed. Of course it is! Welcome to the Elevenses blog!

I’ll up date the page after each Elevenses with Lynne to reflect the episode. I hope you enjoy it.

Lynne Hanley

Author Lynne Hanley

Sassy art historian with a mission to put the story into art history.

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