Luke Allsbrook
The Four Loves
"The Four Loves- Eros"
42x42 inches, oil on canvas, 2007, SOLD
Plein-air study
Figure studies
Underdrawing
"The Four Loves, Philia"
42x42 inches, oil on canvas, 2007SOLD
Portrait studies
"The Four Loves, Storge"
42x42 iches, oil on canvas, 2007, SOLD
"The Four Loves, Agape"
42x42 inches, oil on canvas, 2007
Plein-air studies
This series of paintings is inspired by the
C.S. Lewis book,
The Four Loves. The four
paintings, representing the four kinds of
loves as described in Lewis' book are shown
on this page with extracts from the book.
Eros or “Romantic Love”

“By ‘Eros’ I mean of course that state which we call ‘being in love’...That sexual experience can occur without Eros, without ‘being in
love’, and that Eros includes other things besides sexual activity, I take for granted…There may be those who have first felt mere sexual
appetite for a woman and then gone on at a later stage to ‘fall in love with her’. But I doubt if this is at all common. Very often what
comes first is simply a delighted pre-occupation with the Beloved- a general, unspecified, preoccupation with her in her totality…The
fact that she is a woman is far less important that the fact that she is herself...If you asked (a lover) what he wanted, the true reply would
often be, ‘to go on thinking of her’. He is Love’s contemplative. And when at a later stage the explicitly sexual element awakes, he will
not feel (unless scientific theories are influencing him) that this had all along been the root of the whole matter…Now Eros really makes
a man want, not a woman, but one particular woman. In some mysterious but quite indisputable fashion, the lover desires the beloved
herself, not the pleasure she can give…For it is the very mark of Eros that when he is in us we had rather share unhappiness with the
Beloved than be happy on any other terms…This is the grandeur and terror of love. It is in the grandeur of Eros that the seeds of danger
are concealed. He has spoken like a god. His total commitment, his reckless disregard of happiness, his transcendence of self-
regard, sound like a message from the eternal world. And yet it cannot, just as it stands, be the voice of God Himself. For Eros,
speaking with that very grandeur and displaying that very transcendence of self, may urge to evil as well as to good…’It is for love’s sake
that I have neglected my parents- left my children- cheated my partner- failed my friend at his greatest need’…And all the time the grim
joke is that this Eros whose voice seems to speak from the eternal realm is not himself necessarily even permanent…The world rings
with complaints of his fickleness…And yet Eros in a sense is right to make this promise…In one high bound it has overleaped the
massive wall of our selfhood…and planted the interests of another in the center of our being. Spontaneously and without effort we have
fulfilled the moral law (towards one person) by loving our neighbor as ourselves. It is an image, a foretaste, of what we must become to
all if Love Himself rules without rival.”

From C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Storge or “Affection”

“The Greeks called this love “Storge”… I shall here call it simply Affection. My Greek lexicon defines Storge as ‘affection, especially
of parents and offspring’; but also of offspring to parents. And that, I have no doubt, is the original form of the thing as well as the
central meaning of the word. The image we must start with is that of a mother nursing a baby, a dog or a cat with a basketful of
puppies or kittens; all in a squeaking, nuzzling heap together…Almost anyone can be an object of Affection; the ugly, the stupid,
even the exasperating…We see it not only between dog and Man but, more surprisingly, between dog and cat…Its objects have to
be familiar…the short but seemingly immemorial ‘always’ of childhood...Affection, as I have said, is the humblest love. It gives
itself no airs…Affection almost slinks or seeps through our lives. It lives with humble, un-dress, private things: soft slippers, old
clothes, old jokes, the thump of a sleepy dog’s tail on the kitchen floor, the sound of a sewing machine, a gollywog left on the
lawn…In my experience it is Affection (that teaches) us first to notice, then to endure, then to smile at, then to enjoy, and finally to
appreciate, the people who happen to be there…Affection, I have said, gives itself no airs…can love the unattractive…does not
expect too much…turns a blind eye to faults…(and) opens our eyes to goodness we could not have seen…We might be led on to
believe that this Affection is not simply one of the natural loves but Love Himself working in our human hearts and fulfilling the
(moral) law…Were the Victorian novelists right after all? Is love (of this sort) really enough?...The answer to all these questions is,
I submit, certainly no…The debunkers and anti-sentimentalists have not said all the truth about it, but all they have said is true.
Change is a threat to Affection…We don’t want the ‘old, familiar faces’ to become brighter or more beautiful, the old ways to be
changed even for the better…(Affection) is a gift-love, but one that needs to give; therefore needs to be needed. But the proper aim
of giving is to put the recipient in a state where he no longer needs the gift…Affection produces happiness if, and only
if…something more, and other, than affection is added…continually stimulating mere Affection when it fades and restraining it
when it forgets or would defy the ‘art of love’. There is no disguising the fact that this means…the intervention of a far higher sort of
love than Affection, in itself, ever can be.”

-C.S. Lewis, from The Four Loves
Agape or “Charity”

“God is Love. Again, ‘Herein is love, not that we loved god but that he loved us (1John 4:10) We must not begin with
mysticism, with the creature’s love for God…We begin at the real beginning…with love as the divine energy. This primal love
is Gift-love. In God there is no hunger that needs to be filled, only plenteousness that desires to give. The doctrine that God
was under no obligation to create is not a piece of dry scholastic speculation. It is essential….God, who needs nothing,
loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that he may love and perfect them…He creates the universe
already foreseeing…the buzzing cloud of flies about the cross. Divine Gift-love (Charity), or Love Himself, working in a man
is wholly disinterested and desires simply what is best for the beloved. Again, natural Gift-love is always directed to objects
which the lover finds intrinsically lovable- or perhaps to those whose helplessness is of a winning and appealing kind. But
Divine Gift-love (Charity) in the man enables him to love that which is not naturally lovable: lepers, criminals, enemies,
morons, the sulky, the superior, and the sneering…That such a Gift-love comes by Grace and should be called Charity,
everyone will agree. In reality we all need at times, some of us at most times, that Charity from others which, being Love
Himself in them, loves the unlovable. But this, though a sort of love we need, is not the sort we want. We want to be loved for
our cleverness, beauty, generosity, fairness, usefulness. The first hint that anyone is offering us the highest love of all is a
terrible shock. This is so well recognized that spiteful people will pretend to be loving us with Charity precisely because they
know that it will wound us…There is something in each of us that cannot be naturally loved…All who have good parents,
wives, husbands, or children, may be sure that at some times- and perhaps at all times in respect of some one particular
trait or habit- they are receiving Charity, are loved not because they are lovable but because Love Himself is in those who
love them. Natural loves (Affection, Friendship, and Romantic love) can hope for eternity only in so far as they have allowed
themselves to be taken into the eternity of Charity…and the process will always involve a kind of death.”

From C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves
Philia or “Friendship”

“Friendship is…the least natural of the loves; the least instinctive, organic, biological, gregarious, and necessary…Without Eros none
of us would have been begotten and without Affection none of us would have been reared; But we can live and breed without
Friendship…The pack or herd- the community- may even dislike or mistrust it. Its leaders very often do. Headmasters and
Headmistresses and heads of religious communities, colonels and ships’ captains, can feel uneasy when close and strong
friendships arise between little knots of their subjects…It is a relation between men at their highest level of individuality. Lovers are
always talking to one another about their love; friends hardly ever about their friendship. Lovers are normally face to face, absorbed in
each other; Friends, side by side, absorbed in some common interest…friendship is the least jealous of the loves. Two friends are
delighted to be joined by a third, and three by a fourth, if only the newcomer is qualified to become a real friend. They can then say, as
the blessed souls say in Dante, ‘Here comes one who will augment our loves’…Friendship must be about something. Even if it were
only an enthusiasm for dominoes or white mice…The very condition of having Friends is that we should want something else beside
Friends. You will not find the Warrior, the Poet, the Philosopher or the Christian by staring into his eyes as if he were a mistress:
better fight beside him, read with him, argue with him, pray with him…In this kind of love, as Emerson said, Do you love me, means,
Do you see the same truth?...At home, besides being Peter or Jane, we also bear a general character; husband or wife, brother or
sister, chief, colleague, or subordinate. Not among our friends. It is an affair of disentangled, or stripped, minds. Eros will have naked
bodies; Friendship naked personalities. Friendship, I have said, is born at the moment when one man says to another, ‘What, you
too? I thought that no one but myself…’; But the common taste or vision or point of view which is thus discovered need not always be
a nice one. From such a moment, art or philosophy, or an advance in religion or morals might well take their rise; but why not also
torture, cannibalism, or human sacrifice?...Alone among unsympathetic companions, I hold certain views and standards timidly, half
ashamed to avow them and half doubtful if they can after all be right. Put me back among my friends and in half an hour- in ten
minutes- these same views and standards become once more indisputable…Friendship can be a school of virtue; but also a school
of vice. It is ambivalent…It makes good men better and bad men worse...This love, like the other natural loves has it’s congenial
liability to a particular disease.”

-C.S. Lewis, from The Four Loves