Auguste RodinThe Kiss 1901-4

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Artwork details

Artist
Auguste Rodin (1840‑1917)
Title
The Kiss
Le Baiser
Date 1901-4
MediumPentelican marble
Dimensionsobject: 1822 x 1219 x 1530 mm, 3180 kg
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased with assistance from the Art Fund and public contributions 1953
Reference
N06228

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The Tate’s The Kiss is one of three full-scale versions made in Rodin’s lifetime. Its blend of eroticism and idealism makes it one of the great images of sexual love. However, Rodin considered it overly traditional, calling The Kiss ‘a large sculpted knick-knack following the usual formula.’ The couple are the adulterous lovers Paolo Malatesta and Francesca da Rimini, who were slain by Francesca’s outraged husband. They appear in Dante’s Inferno, which describes how their passion grew as they read the story of Lancelot and Guinevere together. The book can just be seen in Paolo’s hand.

August 2004

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