The Lip-Lock List: Top 10 Kisses in Art History

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Throughout history, there’s little that does as much to evoke romantic imagery in art as the kiss. Whether innocent or amorous, a kiss makes obvious the feelings of affection between the subjects in a work.

Whether in a painting, sculpture, or photograph, we’ve rounded rounded up ten of our all-time favorite kisses throughout art history.

The Birthday

Marc Chagall

The lighthearted whimsy of Marc Chagall’s “The Birthday” depicts the artist with his first wife, Bella Rosenfeld, in a moment of sweet surprise on Bella’s birthday.

Pygmalion and Galatea

Jean-Léon Gérôme

Those familiar with Ovid’s Metamorphoses will recognize Gérôme’s “Pygmalion and Galatea” as a depiction of Pygmalion kissing the ivory statue of his own creation, brought to life by Venus.

In Bed: The Kiss

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s “In Bed: The Kiss” is an intimate portrayal of two women sharing a tender embrace.

Rayograph (The Kiss)

Man Ray

This “Rayogram” by Man Ray uses photo-sensitive paper and exposure to light to reveal the silhouette of himself and lover Kiki de Montparnasse sharing a kiss with their hands on each other’s faces.

The Kiss

Constantin Brâncuși

The sculpture “The Kiss” by Constantin Brâncuși depicts the unity of the lovers in their embrace by preserving the original shape of the plaster block.

The Kiss

Gustav Klimt

The world melds together for the kissing couple in Klimt’s “The Kiss”. The two (perhaps Klimt, himself, and partner Emilie Flöge) are wrapped in gold, surrounded by flowers, and engrossed in a passionate embrace.

The Kiss

Edvard Munch

The couple in Edvard Munch’s “The Kiss” is shown in the act of a passionate kiss, so engrossed in the moment that their faces are indistinguishable in unity.

The Kiss

Francesco Hayez

The detail in Hayez’s “The Kiss” makes the couple in this painting come to life. The lovers steal a secret kiss as a shadowy figure approaches.

The Kiss

Auguste Rodin

Rodin’s famed marble sculpture, “The Kiss”, represents Paolo and Francesca from Dante’s Divine Comedy in an impassioned, sensual embrace.

The Lovers

René Magritte

Magritte’s intended meaning behind “The Lovers” is as shrouded as the kissing couple’s faces, leaving interpretation open to the viewer.

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