By the time detailed anatomical drawings appeared, like those of Leonardo Da Vinci in the early 16th century, the simplified symbol had already taken root. It became a popular image in Catholic symbolism as well as secular things like decks of cards.
Eventually New York City’s 1977 campaign turned the heart symbol into a verb, ”I ♥ New York!”
Now it’s used in everything romantic: Valentine’s Day cards, emojis, chocolate. But you can also find it in video games, on Twitter, and in ads for heart healthy food.
It might be a poor likeness for the human heart, but that’s what makes it such an enduring and versatile symbol.
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