THE LOOK OF LOVE There has always been a powerful connection between the expression of love and the eyes. The phrases “love at first sight” and “bedroom eyes” convey that romanticism, and the art of women drawing attention to their eyes to appear more attractive to men can be observed throughout history. In the 1500s, women in Italy used Belladonna plant extracts to dilate their pupils to make their eyes seem more “dreamy.” The modern-day use of eye makeup and eyelash growth enhancers seeks to accomplish the same goal. When it comes to hearts and other Valentine’s Day symbols, they can be found in antique eyewear accessories. The folding lorgnette (above, right, c1900), features an enamel scene of two women bathers and cherubs. A painted tip tray (top, c1800) shows a woman being given eyedrops by a cupid and a heart-shaped metal bookmark advertises “Eye Fix” (bottom, c1900). This Valentine’s Day be sure to make plenty of eye contact to show your love! Courtesy of the Optical Heritage Museum, opticalheritagemuseum.org.


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