August Rodin, French -
Rodin has been appreciated for decades as one of the pre-eminent
Realist sculptors of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century.
Rodin's goal, as he put
it, was "to render inner feelings through muscular movement." He
achieved this aim by joining his profound knowledge of anatomy and
movement with special attention to the body's surfaces, saying, "The
sculptor must learn to reproduce the surface, which means all that
vibrates on the surface, soul, love, passion, life...Sculpture is thus
the art of hollows and mounds, not of smoothness, or even polished
planes." To this end, his detailed modeling and energetic poses are
strikingly vigorous and lifelike...even one hundred years after they
The Kiss Sculpture was
inspired by Dante's tale of Paolo and Francesca, lovers entwined for
eternity in the Inferno, this statue was initially part of Rodin's
Gates of Hell. Of the many couples sculpted during his tumultuous
liaison with Camille Claudel, The Kiss is the most sensuous. The poet
Rilke compared it to "a sun that rises and floods all with its light."
One of the original
castings of Rodin's The Kiss resides at The Baltimore Museum of Art.
Wrote the poet Rainer Maria Rilke of this masterpiece: "One has the
impression of seeing the delight of this kiss all over these bodies; it
is like a sun which rises and its light is everywhere."