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  • Lynne Shelby

The Art of Kissing

Next week is St Valentine's Day, when love will inspire the purchase of red roses and chocolates on every high street, the sealing of envelopes with lipstick kisses, and the writing of poetry both good and excruciating. Here, to mark this most romantic day of the year, are some images by artists inspired by love...

I was lucky enough to see The Kiss by Gustav Klimt in a gallery in Vienna, and it is stunning, with the gold surrounding the couple in their meadow of flowers seeming to glow. No-one knows who the woman in the painting is, but the most romantic suggestion is that she is Emilie Floge, Klimt's lover.

I think The Kiss by the Hotel de Ville by Robert Doiseneau, really captures the atmosphere of Paris as a city for lovers. The photo got a lot of attention, but when Doiseneau was sued by two women claiming to be the girl in the photo and demanding a share of the royalties, he admitted that the scene had been staged by actors. It still make a wonderfully romantic photo though.

A more spontaneous photographic kiss is Alfred Eisenstaedt's V-J Day in Times Square. The sailor in the photo was celebrating by kissing every woman he met. The identity of the nurse in the photo is unknown, although there have been several women who thought it might be them!

A famous sculptured kiss, is The Kiss by Auguste Rodin. Originally the statue was going to depict the unfortunate Francesca da Rimini and her lover Paolo, just before they were discovered and slain by her husband- which is why the couple's lips don't touch. Such is the ardour portrayed by the marble couple, that in the 1890s the statue was considered too shocking for public display and could only be seen by personal application!

The Meeting Place by Paul Day is situated under the clock at St Pancras station in London - a traditional meeting place for lovers. To me, whenever I walk past it, this statue tells a romantic story of a couple re-united after one of them has just arrived at the station after a long train journey.

Another couple are re-united in Jack Vetriano's Back Where You Belong. The painting, with it's sunset colours, captures all the emotion of lovers embracing after being apart. He's even brought her red roses.

And here is Ray Lichenstien, with Kiss II, painting in comic book style, but still capturing that wonderful moment when two lovers kiss

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