Emotional heritage, an antidote to modern culture’s emphasis on romantic love.

The Ancient Greeks had a sophisticated vocabulary to describe Love in all its shades and complexities. They would have been shocked by our crudeness in using the same word both to whisper “l love you” and to describe our over-excitement for a gourmet burger. We’ve picked 7 of the most powerful of these words and matched them with artworks from our collection to guide us towards a greater understanding of the emotion which makes the world go round. They are poignant and irresistible little stories of urban struggles, young blood, endurance and more.

1. Ludus, or playful love
The affection between children or young lovers — we’ve all had a taste of it while flirting, sitting around in a bar. Dancing with strangers may be the ultimate ludic activity, almost a playful substitute for sex itself.

shoesShoe Couple
by Dave Van Patten from Long Beach

2. Philautia, or love of the self
This is not about taking lots of selfies, but our joy in being true to our own values. The strength to care for ourselves so that we can in turn care for others.

aboutyouIt’s always about you
by Anita Goldstein from Cambridge, UK

3. Storge, family love
The love a parent has for a child, or a child has for a favorite aunt or uncle. The love a foster parent feels for the children in her care. Slightly dysfunctional, most of the time…

familystormThe Family Storm
by Dave Van Patten from Long Beach

4. Philia, or deep friendship
The way we feel for people we strive with to achieve a shared goal – artists and peers, the players in a football team, brothers in arms.

ifeelyouI feel you
by Oscar Delmar from Madrid

5. Pragma, longstanding love
The love between long-married couples which develops over time. The love which makes a friend care for their former school friend who has become vulnerable in later life.

lovers1-lrLovers (1)
by Jarek Puczel from Olsztyn

6. Agape, the love of humanity
What makes us feel connected to people we don’t know simply on the basis of our shared experience as human beings.

sleepingcitySleeping City
by Dave Van Patten from Long Beach

7. Eros, aka sexual passion
It’s the one which can get us into all kinds of trouble.
looseknotLoose Knot
by Kei Kusuma from Surabaya

Alice Zhang

Alice Zhang

Creative Director at Stew