Colour me cynical, but there's one work in the Gallery's Collection that seems to sum up all those crossed wires and conflicting agendas that render Valentine's Day a vexed proposition for many.
It's Venus and Adonis, by the French painter Antoine Coypel (b.1661, d.1722). Venus, who has just been grazed by Cupid's arrow, pleads with Adonis not to go on a wild boar hunt that will, in fact, turn out to be fatal. Her lover gazes deep into her eyes, but is he really listening? Nah, he's too busy taking the opportunity to cop a feel. Whenever I see this painting, I have the urge to insert a thought bubble above the dog that says 'And as it once was, so shall it ever be'...
Antoine Coypel Venus and Adonis. Oil on copper. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, purchased 1975