Art logo

Pairing Art with Poetry

Connecting two differing forms of art.

By KBPublished 4 months ago Updated 4 months ago 5 min read
Top Story - June 2023
Detail Of A Woman Writing With A Quill by Adelaide Labille-guiard

**Note: This article contains a poem that is graphic in content and depicts sexual assault. This content is contained in the section inspired by Paul Cézanne’s “Battle of Love”**

Portrait of a Young Woman in White

By Jacques-Louis David | Oil on Canvas

This beautiful oil painting became more recently recognizable in mainstream media due to Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation; the connection between physical art and literature is inescapable and personally, intriguing, which is what brings me to this list of comparisons.

Most immediately, I am met with a compelling expression on the young woman’s face, which is probably my favorite part of the piece. Somehow, David captures a woman who seems to be full of thoughts and dreams, but also full of emptiness. The eyes look very heavy but the mouth is in a slight smile; a reflection on how many women, and people, truly feel inside. Seeing this externally is not a rarity, but addressing these feelings may be.

The stunning mundanity of this piece is similar in tone to “Myself and My Person” by Anna Swir

There are moments

when I feel more clearly than ever

that I am in the company

of my own person.

This comforts and reassures me,

this heartens me,

just as my tridimensional body

is heartened by my own authentic shadow.


There are moments

when I really feel more clearly than ever

that I am in the company

of my own person.


I stop

at a street corner to turn left

and I wonder what would happen

if my own person walked to the right.


Until now that has not happened

but it does not settle the question.

The Battle of Love

By Paul Cézanne | Oil on Canvas

This post-impressionist painting perfectly ties in both abstract and distortion with life-reflecting figures and landscape. The colors for this piece standout as harmonious, similar to the way these bodily figures seem to be intertwined. However, after looking more closely, it seems there is an undertone of struggle; a complexity that doesn’t show itself at first glance.

Peeling back the surface layers of this painting reminds me of “Like Brushing My Teeth” by Isabella Dorta. This piece was originally performed as a spoken word, here. Below is the transcription:

Two minutes…it’s just two minutes out of my day

I can sing the happy birthday song in my head three times over to distract myself

Back…and forth

And it’s so repetitive but I was always told that sometimes in life

We have to do things we don’t particularly like

Back…and forth

And I hate the taste in my mouth

Especially when it starts frothing up

Back…and forth

Am I done now?

I must be done now

It has to have been two minutes

He said it would only take two minutes

Back…and forth

He said it would be easy

And quick

And like brushing my teeth.

This is not like brushing my teeth.

I did not swallow my own tongue,

He reached between my lips

And took it from me.

I shut my mouth,

I did not want him to reach in…again,

I did not want him to take my teeth as well

Back…and forth

I thought, if I don’t move

And I just keep my mouth closed

He’ll only invade the one set of lips

Back…and forth

Afterwards, he gave my tongue back

But it never really felt like it belonged to me…again,

I did not use it

I did not tell anyone

I was too scared of losing another part of me

As if mentioning what had happened

Meant it would happen again

Back…and forth

He made it sound so normal

Like everyone did it like it would be weird if I didn’t

Back…and forth

If I mention it then I have to acknowledge it happened

It was…only two minutes

It was just like brushing my teeth

Back…and forth


By Pedro Pedro | Textile Paint on Linen

Taking a jump away from darker tones and into some contemporary art, this piece by Pedro Pedro exudes such a lively tone. The vibrant colors and exaggerated roundness lends to an almost cartoonish image that bounces the images off the canvas. While most of Pedro’s work are still lives of fruit and flowers, this jumbled up suitcase is a jumbled mess of carefully curated chaos.

This brings up the poem, “Beginning” by Lila Purpura, in which the rhythm and repetitive sounds evoke a similar kind of curated chaos.

In the beginning,

in the list of begats,

one begat

got forgot:

work begets work

(one poem


the next).

In other words,

once there was air,

a bird

could be got.

Not taken.

Not kept.

But conjured up.

Contemplador de Cascada Vertical, 1995

By Tomás Sánchez | Acrylic on Canvas

Upon first look, the word that comes to mind for this contemporary painting is “grand.” With the dimensions of the painting stretching vertically, in tandem with the skinny trees and tall waterfall, this piece features a tiny human sitting at the bottom; perhaps also nodding to the vastness of nature as a whole.

A wonderful poem that paints detailed imagery such as Sánchez did is “Kyoto: March” by Gary Snyder

A few light flakes of snow

Fall in the feeble sun;

Birds sing in the cold,

A warbler by the wall. The plum

Buds tight and chill soon bloom.

The moon begins first

Fourth, a faint slice west

At nightfall. Jupiter half-way

High at the end of night-

Meditation. The dove cry

Twangs like a bow.

At dawn Mt. Hiei dusted white

On top; in the clear air

Folds of all the gullied green

Hills around the town are sharp,

Breath stings. Beneath the roofs

Of frosty houses

Lovers part, from tangle warm

Of gentle bodies under quilt

And crack the icy water to the face

And wake and feed the children

And grandchildren that they love.

The Kiss

By Gustav Klimt | Oil on Canvas

Though I shy away from writing about ultra-famous paintings as many people tend to have a formed opinion on them, I couldn’t help but include this one on the list. I enjoy love poems and was of course drawn to Emily Dickinson, with her poem, “If you were coming in the fall.”

If you were coming in the Fall,

I'd brush the Summer by

With half a smile, and half a spurn,

As Housewives do, a Fly.


If I could see you in a year,

I'd wind the months in balls---

And put them each in separate Drawers,

For fear the numbers fuse---


If only Centuries, delayed,

I'd count them on my Hand,

Subtracting, til my fingers dropped

Into Van Dieman's Land,


If certain, when this life was out---

That yours and mine, should be

I'd toss it yonder, like a Rind,

And take Eternity---


But, now, uncertain of the length

Of this, that is between,

It goads me, like the Goblin Bee---

That will not state--- its sting.

JourneyInspirationFine ArtCONTENT WARNING

About the Creator


A snippet of life. Some real, some not. Thanks for reading!

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  2. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  3. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  4. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  5. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

Add your insights

Comments (13)

Sign in to comment
  • Rob Angeli3 months ago

    Seamless fusion of word and image, and exploration of the inner world of each art category. Great work, and congrats on top story. If you get a chance, take a look at my entry for Painted Prose, "Finding the Wings: Painted from Life."

  • Mark Graham4 months ago

    All I can say is "Thought provoking." This article could be used in a Art history or a creative writing course in my opinion.

  • This was so hauntingly beautiful! I was so impressed with the artworks and the poems! I've subscribed to you!

  • Ruth Stewart4 months ago

    "He'll only invade the one set of lips". That line will stay with me for a long time. It says it all. I love this curative piece, well done.

  • Novel Allen4 months ago

    This was really beautifully done. Kind of sad and haunting, but lovely. Congrats.

  • MARIE ODEMS 4 months ago


  • Dana Stewart4 months ago

    Fantastic! Thank you for curating this - these are wonderful and an exceptional idea to pair the poems with the art. I absolutely love them all.

  • Caroline Jane4 months ago

    There is something intrinsically calming in your connections. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Maureen Fuller4 months ago

    Creatively put together, I really enjoyed this.

  • sleepy drafts4 months ago

    This is so creative and well thought-out. I love how the poems you chose really complemented the paintings you feature. The poetry emphasized layers to the artwork, I'd never even considered. Wonderful piece, and congratulations on Top Story!

  • Dana Crandell4 months ago

    Congratulations on your Top Story.

  • Melissa Ingoldsby4 months ago

    A very beautiful array of paintings and poems. This is a gorgeous piece you created. I enjoyed it and I definitely want to read it again! Congratulations on your top story! You definitely earned it and deserve the accolades

  • MARIE ODEMS 4 months ago


Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.