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A Celebration of Love and Marriage

Posted on by Minneapolis Institute of Arts

June 26, 2013: “WASHINGTON — In a pair of major victories for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that married same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits and, by declining to decide a case from California, effectively allowed same-sex marriages there.”

More from the New York Times here.

In celebration of these victories for the gay rights movement, we invite you to look back at love and marriage of all stripes through the ages.

This ketubah, or Jewish marriage contract, was made for a wedding that took place in Persia (now Iran) on April 4, 1879 (11 Nisan, 5639 on the Jewish calendar). What do you imagine the bride, Bruriah, was thinking as she prepared to wed Moshe?


Artist Unknown, (Iran, Life Dates Unknown), Ketubah (marriage contract), 1879, Paper, ink, pigment. The Paul C. Johnson, Jr. Fund, 98.156.3.

This china pattern won’t appear on wedding registries in August, when Minnesota celebrates its first same-sex nuptials, but it would certainly be appropriate as the rings and birds refer to betrothal and marriage. The set was made for Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Can you see their faces?

82.42.1; 82.42.2

Sèvres Porcelain Factory (French, est. 1756), Cup and Saucer, 1770-1774, Porcelain. The Groves Foundation Fund, 82.42.2.

This chest was made by Ivar Kvalen in Norway to commemorate the marriage of his daughter Sirid in 1777. It was brought to Wisconsin by her descendants in 1858. What new heirlooms will emerge as everyone achieves the right to woo and wed?


Ivar Kvalen (Quallen) (Norwegian, dates unknown), Chest, 1777, Painted wood, iron. Gift of Joel and Irene Njus in memory of Siri Ivar’s datter Grosberg, 99.93a,b.

A traditional take on boy meets girl. How will artistic depictions of love evolve as society grows more accepting of loving relationships of all kinds?


YAP, Hong Kong, (Dates Unknown), “Love Bank” mechanical bank, 20th century, Plastic, pigment. Gift of Katherine Kierland Herberger, 2003.236.506.

All that’s left to say can be summed up by the title of this work by Gauguin – “Love, and You Will be Happy”!


Paul Gauguin (French, 1848 – 1903), Love, and You Will Be Happy, 19th century, Color woodcut. The William Hood Dunwoody Fund, 1947, P.12,866.


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