The title as well as the image, derive from King René's Book of Love, Le Coeur d'Amours Espris (1457). René, King of Sicily and Duke of Anjou, authored stories about knights, heroic deeds, perilous journeys, and the love and sorrow in the human heart. His books were created as illuminated manuscripts, and his masterpiece remains his Book of Love.
René was ten when he entered into an arranged marriage with nine year old Isabel de Lorraine. When her father Charles Duke of Lorraine died, René inherited the Duchy but was imprisoned by a nephew of the Duke who claimed the inheritance was his. Isabel's intercession managed to free him for a time on his word of honour, even leaving his two children as temporary hostages until his promised return.
René adored Isabel and during their marriage, he managed to have his subjects love him too for his fairness, generosity, and the care he took to secure their prosperity. In 1453, the untimely loss of his beloved Isabel, triggered in him the story of the Heart as Love's captive. The story closely follows the classic Romance of the Rose, and each of the images that illustrate the manuscript is multileveled. The story begins one night as René prepares to sleep, with Love on his mind. In the middle of the night, Love appears before him to remove his Heart and hand it to Desire. In Leonora Carrington's parody, René is awakened as his loved one, who, wounded by Love, comes to him; and their two children, in hiding, observe their reunion.
Salomon Grimberg, Dallas 1998