The Kiss: A Celebration of Love in Art

Overview

Over 130 of the greatest depictions of the kiss in art are accompanied by insightful commentary in this handsome volume. The depiction of the kiss has held special significance throughout the history of art, from classical antiquity to the present. A symbol of erotic passion or maternal love but equally of betrayal and death, the kiss represents one of the greatest legendary motifs. Spanning the ages and the globe, this volume explores the emphasis placed by certain cultures and artists on "the meeting of lips." ...

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Overview

Over 130 of the greatest depictions of the kiss in art are accompanied by insightful commentary in this handsome volume. The depiction of the kiss has held special significance throughout the history of art, from classical antiquity to the present. A symbol of erotic passion or maternal love but equally of betrayal and death, the kiss represents one of the greatest legendary motifs. Spanning the ages and the globe, this volume explores the emphasis placed by certain cultures and artists on "the meeting of lips." From Hayez’s medieval kissers to Klimt’s iconic symbolist painting, and from Ingres’s Francesca and Paolo to Picasso’s ethereal cubist couple, this book explains the passionate undertones of the world’s greatest masterpieces. The evocative text is illustrated by works ranging from Hokusai to Cindy Sherman via Mary Cassat, Brancusi, and Lichtenstein.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Complemented by highly accessible prose from Bramly, this collection provides a broad and illuminating look at the depiction of kissing in visual art. Images from the Western canon, such as the central panel of Hieronymous Bosch's "The Garden of Earthly Delights" or Rodin's "The Kiss" are set aside examples from other cultures, such as India's Khajuraho Temples, the 1,000-year-old walls of which are covered in sculptures of figures engaging in a wide variety of sexual acts. Yet Bramly and Coulon's tome is no Valentine's Day gift, and not all kisses signify love: Giotto and Dürer depict the kiss of betrayal that Judas bestowed upon Jesus, while centuries later, in Joseph Beuys' "The Young Woman and Death," two skeletons, rendered in washed-out ink, embrace one another on an envelope stamped with the word "Auschwitz." More contemporary examples play with the sentimentality inherent in the demonstration of love: Cindy Sherman's "Untitled #305," evokes a surprising amount of passion— a synthesized sensuality— between two mannequin heads. Speaking of Brancusi, Bramly writes that the abstract sculptor was "not trying to depict a couple kissing… but rather a kiss itself." Indeed, this collection demonstrates how splendidly diverse such a deceptively complex act can be. Photos & illus. (Sept.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9782080200983
  • Publisher: Rizzoli
  • Publication date: 9/4/2012
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 8.42 (w) x 10.96 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet the Author

Serge Bramly is a photographer and author of numerous works; he received the prestigious Prix Interallié in 2008. Jean Coulon is an art collector, film producer, and member of the board of directors of the Musée Maillol in Paris.

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