The word “KISS” comes from the Old English word “cyssan,” No one really knows the origin of “cyssan” but it’s thought that it might represent the sound people make when they kiss.
JOHN W. MILLS British Sculptor
Title: CLOSE AFFECTION 2015
Throughout the history of Art we are able to recall memories of master artists capturing the beautiful expression of THE KISS.
As a global organisation we want to study these forms in more detail, to understand the thoughts and influences that it may have had on the artists, in expressing their deep affection on the subject?
We welcome your comments and contribution on the story of The Art of KISSES, or if you as an artists where influence to use as a subject for your art?
Khajuraho Temple Kisses
The Story of Life & Love (INDIA)
Khajuraho Temples are among the most beautiful medieval monuments in the country. These temples were built by the Chandella ruler between AD 900 and 1130. It was the golden period of Chandella rulers. It is presumed that it was every Chandella ruler has built atleast one temple in his lifetime. So all Khajuraho Temples are not constructed by any single Chandella ruler but Temple building was a tradition of Chandella rulers and followed by almost all rulers of Chandella dynasty. Khajuraho is known for its ornate temples that are spectacular piece of human imagination, artistic creativity, magnificent architectural work and deriving spiritual peace through eroticism.
Renaissance Kisses – Timeless piece
Around 1545, Agnolo Bronzino was commissioned to create a painting which has come to be known as Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time. In it mother and son appear on the verge of a sexual tryst: Cupid fondles his mother’s breast and kisses her on the lips. Suggestively, Venus’ legs appear to be slightly spread and her tongue is visible.
Agnolo di Cosimo (Italian November 17, 1503 – November 23, 1572), known as Bronzino. We witness the influence of Bronzino in the famous works by master artists Michelangelo in the sculpture of David and Leonardo da Vinci the painting of Mona Lisa. Oil on panel, 5 ft 1 in x 4 ft 8 3/4 in (In the collection of The London, National Gallery of Art)
The artistic school of Mughal India was formed through the transmission of techniques both directly and indirectly by master artists of the royal Mughal atelier. After the death of Akbar, architect of the Mughal empire and active patron of the arts, his son Jahangir (r. 1605–27) ascended to the throne. As a prince, Jahangir had established his own atelier in Allahabad and had strong artistic tastes, preferring a single painter to work on an image rather than the collaborative method of Akbar’s time.
Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss, 1787-1793
Italian sculptor, Antonio Canova (1757-1822) was a leading exponent of the neoclassic style, which dominated the arts in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Internationally famous, for his marble sculptures of delicate nudes. he was regarded as the most brilliant sculptor in Europe – was famous Working after the excesses of the Baroque style, he carved a niche for himself in the world of Neoclassical sculpture . Called ‘the supreme minister of beauty’ and ‘a unique and truly divine man’ by contemporaries.
His masterpiece of mythological love, in which the god Cupid awakens Psyche from unconsciousness, displays his typical elegance and sophistication – a conscious emulation of Greek and Roman examples in the age of the Enlightenment
Edo Japan Kisses
From Poem of the Pillow, 1788
Kitagawa Nebsuyoshi (born 1753,Japan—died Oct. 31, 1806, Edo, Japan—d.) Japanese printmaker and painter who was one of the greatest artists of the ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”) movement; he is known especially for his masterfully composed portraits of sensuous female beauties.
Eroticism was a fundamental theme of Japanese printmaking of the Edo period, and Utamaro Kitagawa concentrated specifically on depictions of love and sex in his art. This is one of the more chaste images from his overpowering Poem of the Pillow, a cycle of twelve prints of almost unparalleled sexual intensity. Later Western artists, notably Édouard Manet and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, turned to Japanese examples like this one for their own frank depictions of lovers and courtesans
Francesco Hayez (Italian, 1791-1882),
Il Bacio, 1867.
Oil on canvas.
46 5/8 x 34 7/8 in. (118.4 x 88.6 cm.) Estimate: $700,000-1,000,000. This work is offered in the 19th Century European Art sale on 25 April at Christie’s New York…
Il Bacio is of course even more passionate still, with the male figure caressing the woman’s face and holding the back of her head. Another difference from the painting of Romeo and Juliet is that Hayez imbues the work with political as well as social allegory. It can be read as a hymn to freedom and patriotic love, and as such this depiction went on to become a true icon of Italian painting.
Franceso Hayez was a popular Italian portraitist who also rendered historical and allegorical subjects.
Dimensions: 1.82 m x 1.12 m x 1.17 m
Owner: Musée Rodin
Location: Private collection
Auguste Rodin’s Kiss in white marble of two naked figures embracing and captured in the motion of Kissing. Naturalistic style was deemed quite outrageous and crude when first displayed. The couple in “The Kiss” are not idealized, classically nude figures; rather they are naked and openly sexual, although the couple’s lips do not actually meet.
“To any artist, worthy of the name, all in nature is beautiful, because his eyes, fearlessly accepting all exterior truth, read there, as in an open book, all the inner truth.”- Auguste Rodin.
Artist: Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Genre: History painting
‘Dance at Bougival’ by Renoir depicts a couple dancing, he seemingly about to kiss her and she looking away, her mouth drooping. Renoir’s model was Suzanne Valadon, a famous artist in her own right, who had been dressmaker before becoming an acrobat and following a fall, an artists’ model. A muse and lover of Renoir’s, it is thought he depicted her with a drooping mouth as a comment on his on feeling regarding women: their role was either domestic, or providing inspiration for him.
“Why shouldn’t art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world.” – Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
Art Nouveau Kisses
Gustav Klimt (1862 -1918) One of his finest piece working in mix medium
The Kiss in 1907-8, — undoubtedly his most famous work and now a stalwart of undergraduate bedroom walls everywhere. A couple are depicted in gold leaf and embellished with coloured symbols. Only their faces, hands and feet may be seen. A joyful and exuberant expression of sexual love, Klimt’s The Kiss is also a defining expression of decadence in turn-of the century Vienna.
“Whoever wants to know something about me – as an artist which alone is significant – they should look attentively at my pictures and there seek to recognise what I am and what I want.”- Gustav Klimt.
“What my work is aiming at is, above all, realism: I pursue the inner, hidden reality, the very essence of objects in their own intrinsic fundamental nature; this is my only deep preoccupation.”
Constantin Brâncuși (February 19, 1876 – March 16, 1957) was a Romanian sculptor, painter and photographer who made his career in France. Considered a pioneer of modernism. His simplified forms in his sculpture, subverting centuries of sculptural tradition, fusing both the influence of his classical training and his peasant background. His philosophy of expressing “the idea, the essence of things” drove his artistic conceptions, and his ‘The Kiss’ (1916).
Original Title: Le baiser
Period: Neoclassicist & Surrealist Period …
Genre: genre painting
Media: oil, canvas
Dimensions: 97.7 x 130.5 cm
The tender or violent scenes of kissing couples, portrayed in a vibrant rich layers of colours, shows how much importance sexual love had for the artist.
This Kiss from 1925 shows two heads joined by a single line occupying the entire pictorial space. Picasso does not hesitate to deform the faces in order to bring them closer together: “Of the two, he makes but one, to express the intimate fusion that takes place during the act of kissing.”
Today Picasso hold the record for World’s most expensive painting – Les Femmes d’Alger (version O)(1955) – Pablo Picasso • Sold at auction in 2015, for $179 million.
“The meaning of LIFE is to find your GIFT. The purpose of LIFE is to Give It Away” – Pablo Picasso.
“The mind loves the unknown. It loves images whose meaning is unknown, since the meaning of the mind itself is unknown.”
René François Ghislain Magritte was a Belgian surrealist artist. He became well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images….
Dimensions: 54 cm x 73 cm
Location: National Portrait Gallery
Media: Oil paint
In René Magritte’s ‘Lovers’ (1928) two lovers kiss, wrapped in shrouds. The symbolism here is of love blinded, the cloth separating the pair as the spectre of death envelops passion. As an interesting aside, Magritte’s mother drowned when he was a child and when she was found, her nightgown covered her head.
“My painting is visible images which conceal nothing,” he wrote, “they evoke mystery and, indeed, when one sees one of my pictures, one asks oneself this simple question, ‘What does it mean?’ It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing either, it is unknowable.”- René Magritte
Pop Art period – Kisses
‘The Kiss’ (1962) by American artist Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997) amplifies a classic ‘comic book’ kiss to iconic proportions.
The Kiss was among the first “comic strip” paintings for which Roy Lichtenstein became instantly famous in art circles. He’d always been fascinated by the work of cartoonists and saw many parallels between their styles and those of modern “Fine Arts” masters
“I’m never drawing the object itself; I’m only drawing a depiction of the object – a kind of crystallised symbol of it.” – Roy Lichtenstein.
21st Century Modern Street art Kisses
Banksy a street artists captured his version of the Kiss to bring us to modern day
Maked Headlines in 2014 Banksy’s Kissing Coppers – taken from a pub wall in Brighton – sells for $575,000 in US
Modern Street Art Kisses
Eduardo Kobra – Born in São Paulo, in 1976. Lives and works in São Paulo, Brazil.
Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra utilizes bright colours and bold lines while staying true to a kaleidoscope theme throughout his art. The technique of repeating squares and triangles allows him to bring to life the famous people he depicts in his images. This chequered pattern, filled with different textures, lines, and shading, builds up to Eduardo Kobra’s final masterpiece, a larger than life mural for all to see and marvel at.
The original photo portrayed an American sailor kissing a woman in a white dress in Times Square, New York City, on August 14, 1945. The photograph was published a week later in Life magazine among many photographs of celebrations around the country that were presented in a twelve-page section called Victory
21st Century Modern Dance Kisses
JOHN W. MILLS British Sculptor
Bronze edition LIFE size
Title: CLOSE AFFECTION 2015
Viewing by appointment
contact ICAS – Vilas Fine Art UK.
The subject derives from a ballet “Romeo and Juliet” by Frederick Ashton. It uses one of the famous ‘Pas des deux’ that feature in that ballet and are so typical of the choreography of Ashton. He causes the two dancers to melt so that they become like one person whilst retaining their individual grace and sexuality. My work with dancers seeks to convey such feelings without simply illustrating them. The dynamic of the dance and making of a powerful image using a beautiful subject is a constant challenge to John Mills.
– See more info: