Rough Version

The Book of Hearts

My next book is about to be published! The Book of Hearts

What is a heart? A symbol? An organ? A metaphor? The heart has been an object of fascination since people first became aware of the thing beating in their chests. This book examines the breadth of visual interpretations of this symbol.

The first image of the heart was in a picture of a woolly mammoth on a cave wall, created around 10,000 BC. The more traditional heart shape as we know it today probably evolved from the image of an ivy leaf – a plant that represented sensuality and immortality in ancient Greece. The indented heart shape was really established in the fourteenth century, being used in over 160 trademarks for paper manufacturers, devloped from stylized leaves. For centuries, the symbol and word were intertwined with ideas of passion and love. By the nineteenth century the heart had become a cliché – only reinvented in the 1960s and 70s, when it began to be used in pop cultural imagery.

From the Sacred Heart cult to the invention of the Valentine, from heart tattoos to pictograms. This collection of heart imagery highlights how a universal symbol can be creatively interpreted and constantly reinvented.

Featured artists include: Julie Verhoeven, Scott Campbell, Noble and Webster, Rob Ryan, Aleksandr Mir, Keith Haring, Anthony Micaleff, Yinka Shonibare, Angelique Houtkamp (cover image above), Marcel Duchamp and Hellicar and Lewis (image below)