Love and marriage have not always gone hand in hand, and while the institution of marriage has existed for millennia, what this institution means has changed drastically throughout its existence. ‘Do I Love You? A History of Love and Marriage’ is an exhibition that examines these changes and takes us on a journey from the classical love of ancient Greece and Rome to the pluralistic and, at times, transient love of today’s world.
The exhibition explores how the advent of Christianity across Europe led to brotherly, platonic love being championed as the ideal while carnal passion was despised and seen as necessary solely for procreation. Moving into the medieval period, we see how the idea of courtly love began to flourish with young men attempting to woo unobtainable older women.
The exhibition also examines the age-old division between town and country, looking at how marriage in rural communities was a social necessity, arranged for financial reasons rather than love. Finally we romp into the modern age and learn how, despite the number of marriages decreasing and divorces being on the rise, the acquisition of true love is still a goal in many of our lives. The exhibition presents this journey through works of art, songs, artefacts, cinema, literature and testimonies.
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