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The Kiss Sculpture Essay

Auguste Rodin’s sculpture The Kiss made out of marble is an illustration of passionate love and affection. The love has been demonstrated quite vividly by the marble carving of a man and a woman embracing in passion. The carving was inspired by Dante’s Inferno, a story of adulterous love affair between Paulo Malatesta and Francesca da Rimini. They developed feelings for each other after reading a romantic novel of Lancelot and Guinevere jointly. In the sculpture Paulo is depicted holding what is believed to be the book the two read. In the romantic story, Paulo’s elder brother, who was actually Francesca’s husband, caught the two in the affair and killed them. The sculpture can be said to have adequately summarized the whole story and immortalized it as well. Francesca in a passionate embrace puts her tender arms round Paulo’s neck as she reaches out for a kiss. Paulo’s masculine arms are also seen holding Francesca’s soft hips. Rodin creates a romantic atmosphere by emphasizing the physical attributes of the bodies as he uses lights and shadows to bring out a very vivid natural precision. The subtle display of the upper parts of the two bodies also helps in creating the romance in the sculpture. The scented lighting used in this piece of art brings out the fact that this is a discrete and private affair. Thanks to the inspiration and the characters in the sculpture, various other names have been suggested, such as Le Baiser and Francesca da Rimini.

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Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

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  • 1975.312.7

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  • 1984.364.7

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Pair of Standing Nude Male Figures Demonstrating the Principles of Contrapposto According to Michelangelo and Phidias

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Bacchante (Grapes or Autumn)

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Rodin--The Eve

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The Bronze Age (L'Age d'airain)

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The Golden Age

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Balzac Toward the Light, Midnight

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Eternal Spring

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The Burghers of Calais

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Victor Hugo (three-quarter view)

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The Old Courtesan (La Belle qui fut heaulmière)

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Orpheus and Eurydice

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Honoré de Balzac

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Iris, Messenger of the Gods

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Study of a hand

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Adam

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The Hand of God

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Final Study of the Monument to Balzac

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Nero

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Torso (A Study for Ariane without Arms)

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Madame X

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Hanako

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Les cathédrales de France

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