Četvrtak, 02 Decembar 2021 12:30

Auguste Rodin's inspiration for The Kiss Istaknut

The Kiss (detail) The Kiss (detail)

Trained in the traditions of eighteenth-century art, captivated by the works of Renaissance artist Michelangelo and fascinated by the works of classical Greece, Auguste Rodin broke the rules and the mold in many of his sculptures. Rodin's main inspiration for The Kiss comes from a literary source, and its classical composition was taken from classic sculptures of his time. He captures a tangible feeling of the psychology of love in the way the bodies of Paolo and Francesca for The Gates of Hell meld into one another, portraying the essence of complete passion.

The composition and the subject of the sculpture The Kiss were inspired by a tragic love story based on a real affair that took place in Italy in 1275 and was described by an Italian masterpiece of literature, Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy. For The Kiss Auguste Rodin chose to depict a story from Dante's The Divine Comedy. In the fourth level of the Inferno Dante met Francesca da Rimini and her brother-in-law, Paolo Malatesta, on their journey through the circles of hell. The lustful couple was condemned to be swept away for their sinful passion for each other in life. The story of Paolo and Francesca had become a popular theme in painting after Dante's book grew popular. Rodin depicted the moment of the couple's first fateful kiss, triggered by their joint reading of the romantic story of Lancelot and Genevieve. At this very moment, the lovers were discovered and, shortly after, murdered by Francesca's jealous husband.

Even though Auguste Rodin cast the figures in an extremely passionate embrace, he ensured that the sculpture The Kiss is not overtly sexual by classically rendering the bodies. There is a graceful fluidity and balance of weight, that paired with the contrast of smoothly worked and roughly hewn textures echo Michelangelo's hand. Athletically built figures and their fluid poses evoke associations of classical Greek sculptures. Rodin's use of marble also references the great works of Antiquity. Here two lovers are depicted in a state of eternal passion, with the marble emphasizing the transcendence of their entwined pose. The influence that the Parthenon sculptures had on Rodin is extensive. It was inspired by a sculpture of two female goddesses, which used to adorn the east pediment of the Parthenon. The Kiss is, just as the goddesses are, carved from a single block of stone with one figure melting into another.

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