Rodin's The Kiss
'The isolated grandeur of this sculpture's display in Margate is a bit like the solitary splendour of Michelangelo's David in its immense niche in Florence, and it powerfully focuses attention on the greatness of Rodin.'
Jonathan Jones, The Guardian
Auguste Rodin’s life-size marble sculpture The Kiss (1901-04), on loan from the Tate collection, is on show in our Sunley Gallery.
One of the most iconic images of sexual love, The Kiss was voted the nation’s favourite work of art in a 2003 poll. The embracing couple come from a true thirteenth century story of forbidden love, which was immortalised in Dante’s Inferno and by many artists since.
The couple are the adulterous lovers Paolo Malatesta and Francesca da Rimini, who were slain by Francesca’s outraged husband. They appear in Dante’s Inferno, which describes how their passion grew as they read the story of Lancelot and Guinevere together. At the time, the perceived eroticism of Rodin’s sculpture was controversial leading to instances where the work was removed from public view.
The sculpture’s arrival coincides with our second major exhibition Nothing in the World But Youth (17 September 2011- 8 January 2012). This exhibition explores how youth experience has been reflected in art, culture and the media since the late nineteenth century to the present day and will feature paintings, photographs, items of clothing and early JMW Turner works, many depicting the local area of East Kent.