Auguste Rodin’s sculpture, The Kiss, was created in 1886 and showcases two nude figures in an embrace. Originally part of The Gates of Hell, it shocked the public upon its release but is now considered a romantic masterpiece. Interestingly, Rodin had regarded it as a traditional “knick-knack”, but it helped to cement his reputation when exhibited as a standalone sculpture.
The figures depicted in The Kiss are based on Paolo Malatesta and Francesca da Rimini from Dante’s Inferno. It is one of several sculptures that Rodin created for The Gates of Hell, each showcasing his own concept of humanity’s tortured nature. However, The Kiss has become one of his most famous works and is viewed as a great image of sexual love.
Although the sculpture itself does not have significant symbolism or narrative, its beauty lies within the composition and technique used by Rodin. He utilized intricate details such as curvaceous lines to depict the softness and femininity of the female figure, while using harder edges to highlight the masculinity of the male figure. These contrasting elements work together seamlessly to create an overall harmonious piece.