Foyer: Auguste Rodin The Kiss

Auguste Rodin, 'The Kiss' 1901-4

Auguste Rodin
The Kiss 1901-4
Pentelican marble
object: 1822 x 1219 x 1530 mm, 3180 kg
Purchased with assistance from the Art Fund and public contributions 1953

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One of the nineteenth century’s most innovative sculptors, Rodin is often referred to as the first modern sculptor because of his concern with the materiality of form. The Kiss appears timeless, a lasting manifestation of the academic nude which succeeds in delicately balancing the ideal and the erotic. Originally part of a larger commission, The Gates of Hell, illustrating Dante’s Inferno, The Kiss depicts the adulterous lovers Paolo and Francesca in their first embrace. The Kiss was produced at the beginning of the century at a time of great experimentation, during which the treatment of the figure would be radically transformed.