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A Cheat Sheet on the Best-Ever Kisses in Art History
Because even the art world likes to feel loved…
Art Girls Jungle 10 Feb 2020

The art world is often known for drama and rivalry. It’s also a busy place with auctions, parties and a lot of overseas travel to art fairs and biennials. So, does anyone really have any time to have a romantic relationship at all? Of course they do! Romance has been a favourite theme for artists for centuries, just look at all the complicated love triangles within Greek and Roman myths. And, since it’s the month of love, we thought we’d compile a list of our favourite kisses in art history.


The Kiss, Francesco Hayez, 1859

This kiss looks like something out of a film, and in fact, it inspired the 1954 film Senso. As though coming back from a night on the town, this kiss takes place at night, with the shadow of a stranger being visible in the left-hand corner. So you could say that this piece is both dreamy and creepy at the same time. But, what love story isn’t fraught with drama?


The Kiss, Auguste Rodin, 1889

The couple in Rodin’s most famous work is Paolo and Francesco, characters from Dante’s Divine Comedy. Rodin’s almost other-wordly love work depicts a love that could never quite be. Alas the lovers in the story were killed by Francesca’s husband when he found the pair in each other’s arms. 

Pygmalion and Galatea, Jean-Leon Gerome, 1890

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This is a famous story of how Pygmalion fell in love with Galatea. I like how the story evolves so quickly here: Cupid is right there sending his arrow into Pygmalion who instantly fells in love with his work, and Aphrodite turns the statue into a woman. Note how her legs are still marble-white and stuck on the base. (In the myth she was ivory, but this still looks like marble to me?) And Pygmalion's passionate kiss makes one wonder whether it was the goddess who brought the marble to life, or his embrace? Pygmalion and Galatea, 1890, Jean-Léon Gérôme, currently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York ☛ @metmuseum #art #beauty #classicart #classicbeauty #classicartbeauty #classicartfrance #painting #frenchart #europeanart #fineart #19c #19cart #myth #mythologyinart #mythology #greekmythology #pygmalion #galatea #pygmalionandgalatea #kiss #statueofawoman #embrace #themet #NY #metropolitan_museum_of_art #metmuseum #jeanleongerome #marble #ivory #venus

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This is one for real art lovers. Pygmalion, a king and sculptor in Greek mythology, fell in love with a sculpture (Galatea) that he carved. We just love to see an artist that in love with his craft. 


In Bed, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrex, 1892

Perhaps the most tender and intimate place to be kissed is in bed with your lover. Toulouse-Lautrec’s painting shows two women, with the image believed to depict women living in a brothel. Whatever the work’s meaning, there is a clear sense of warmth and love between the two women.


The Kiss, Brancusi, 1907-8

Just look at this pair, they are so in love that their arms wrap around each other and become one. Brancusi’s dreamy stone work is making us all feel a little more amorous. 


The Kiss, Gustav Klimt, 1907-1908


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"L'arte è tutta erotica." #Klimt #TheKiss

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Quite possibly the most famous kiss in art history, Klimt’s kiss is dripping in gold and sparkle. Believed to be modelled on the artist and his lover Emilie Floge, it is a kiss that has inspired others for more than a century.


Birthday, Marc Chagall, 1915

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?? Compleanno (Birthday) è un dipinto realizzato nel 1915 dal pittore Marc Chagall, con la tecnica a olio su cartone. È conservato nel Museum of Modern Art di New York. L'opera fa parte della serie di dipinti che inneggiano l'amore dell'artista per la prima moglie. L'immagine è caratterizzata dai due sposi sospesi nell'aria e l'artista che, per baciare la moglie, assume un'angolazione impossibile. Chagall dipinge minuziosamente ogni cosa, ad indicare che quando è con la moglie Bella ogni cosa della realtà è perfetta e sembra che lei possa portargli la felicità. ?? Birthday (Birthday) is a painting created in 1915 by the painter Marc Chagall, with the oil on cardboard technique. It is kept in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. #marcchagall #marcchagallart #chagall #chagallcompleanno #chagallbirthday #arte #art #artista #artist #pittorifamosi #pittorifrancesi #momanewyork #museumofmodernart #museumofmodernartnyc #quadrifamosi #amore #bellezza #love #beautiful #beautifuldestinations #beautifulart #culturaltrip #cultura #culturaltravel #traveltonewyork #viaggioanewyork #viaggioculturale #viaggioinamerica #viaggiare #museum

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Have you ever felt so in love that you have levitated into the air and bent over backwards to give your lover a kiss? No? Us, neither. But we’re all hopeful that one day we’ll find a love like that of Marc Chagall and his wife Bella Rosenfeld.


The Kiss, Many Ray, 1922

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This kiss looks like an x-ray, and in fact, it kind of is. The work is a “rayogram”, an invention by Man Ray where the x-ray effect is created by placing objects on a sheet of photosensitized paper and exposing it to light. The resulting work looks like the reveal of a hidden love, and we love it.


The Lovers, Rene Magritte, 1928

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René Magritte, Gli Amanti, 1928

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Magritte’s surrealist work shows a couple kissing with fabric covering their faces. Perhaps a depiction of a love that cannot be, it reminds us of the hoops and hurdles we sometimes have to jump through during romantic relations. 


We Rose Up Slowly, Roy Lichtenstein, 1964

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We Rose Up Slowly 1964

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Ok, so this couple are just about to kiss, but the romantic tension and feeling of emotion that Lichtenstein creates is just iconic. Straight out of a comic book, we know this is going to be a great love story. 


Text Lizzy Vartanian

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