Love Rat by Banksy

Love Rat Banksy

Find out more about Banksy’s ‘Love Rat’ series, browse prints & editions for sale & view the works wanted by active buyers right now.

Love Rat first appeared as a spray-paint graffiti tag on the streets of Liverpool, before being reproduced in 2004 as a highly sought after limited edition of just 150 signed and 600 unsigned prints.

The rat itself is executed in the artist’s signature monochromatic stencil style, shown brandishing a large paint brush in his paws. The rat has seemingly just finished painting the outline of a bright red heart on a wall, providing the only touch of colour to the print. 

At first glance, it would seem that the image was intended to spread love on the streets where it was painted. However, the blood-red paint drip painting, a popular Street Art technique, implies that the heart is in fact bleeding. Banksy even promoted this work on his website, pitching it jokingly as “ideal for a cheating spouse”. In fact then, Love Rat serves to remind us of love’s potential to induce pain and suffering as well as joy and pleasure. 

Rats are one of Banksy’s greatest sources of inspiration and one of the most prolific subjects in his work. An anagram of “art”, the rat, along with the monkey, is an allegorical tool used by Banksy in his criticism of the human race. His animals are frequently anthropomorphised, having been granted human characteristics and positioned in unusual or comical situations revealing human vices and flaws.

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