Famous Artist

Oh, love ! An inexhaustible source of inspiration for artists. This feeling that has fascinated since the dawn of time appears in all its forms in the history of art, whether we talk about a flirt, a first stir, an intimate moment or even an embrace passionate. Zoom on six famous kisses in painting.

Gustav Klimt, The Kiss, 1907-1908

Make way for the most famous kiss in art history, that of Gustav Klimt. Made between 1907 and 1908, the painter’s golden age, the painting is a veritable hymn to the romantic idyll. The two lovers huddle together and indulge in an intense kiss. The place is not identifiable, placing the couple at the center of attention. Through the use of gold and floral motifs, Klimt attempted to glorify the power of eroticism. If the canvas is often associated with an allegory of love, some experts believe that the couple represented is none other than the painter himself and his lifelong love, Emilie Flöge. Klimt’s kiss is a manifesto of Viennese secessionist art and the Belle Époque. It is located at the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere in Vienna.

Francesco Hayez, The kiss, 1859

Francesco Hayez, Italian historic romantic painter, also represented his vision of the passionate kiss, but in a completely different style. The kiss, from 1859, is considered the manifesto of Italian romantic art. The scene takes place in a setting of the Middle Ages, the couple is at the center of the composition and no element comes to disturb their embrace, except the threatening shadow which appears on the left of the painting. This work, carrying the spirit of the Risorgimento, is one of the most intense representations of a loving kiss in the history of Western art. There are three other versions created by Hayez. The work is kept at the Pinacoteca de Brera in Milan.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, In the bed, the kiss, around 1892-1893

If there is one artist whose work symbolizes Parisian bohemian life, it is Toulouse-Lautrec. Known as the painter who documented the nightlife of the capital, he also distinguished himself as a designer of the most beautiful posters produced using the technique of lithography. In this affectionate embrace, he reveals to us the passion for feminine love. The work In bed, the kiss captures two young women, two supposed prostitutes, sharing an intimate moment. Toulouse -Lautrec has produced a series of works on the subject, exploring the emotional relationship and the carnal relationship between two female figures.

Marc Chagall, The Birthday, 1915

Marc Chagall offers us the most acrobatic kiss in the history of art : the man contorts his head unreally to kiss his fiancée. Chagall made The Birthday at the age of 28 in 1915 to portray himself with his great love Bella Rosenfeld, whom he married the same year. Chagall will write later that their love started at first sight, to continue for 35 years. Chagall is a true storyteller, floating characters and bright colors are recurring elements in his painting. The work is located at MoMa in New York.

Jean-Honoré Fragonard, The Hiding Kiss, around 1780

The kiss at the window is part of Munch’s cycle called The Frieze of Life, on which he has worked for over thirty years to represent the stages of a relationship between a man and a woman. The faces of the two lovers are almost invisible, and the embrace occupies only a small part of the painting. The couple are almost in the background, letting the spectator’s eye wander to appreciate the night view. No tenderness emerges from the scene, the embrace is sensual but joyless, and probably refers to the sensations and the personal history of the artist. The work is in the National Museum of Oslo.

Jean-Honoré Fragonard, The Hiding Kiss, around 1780

In Le Baiser à la secrete, Jean-Honoré Fragonard testifies to a scene of frivolous love. A young man stealthily embraces a girl who has come to retrieve a shawl in a boudoir. The woman lets go but does not return her gesture, and seems concerned. She is, for a moment, away from the mannered society which fills her daily life, and which can be seen through the half-open door on the right. The work is kept at the Hermitage Museum.

© Barnebys Group AB
February 6, 2020


Life is like a bunch of roses. Some sparkle like raindrops. Some fade when there's no sun. Some just fade away in time. Some dance in many colors. Some drop with hanging wings. Some make you fall in love. The beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Life you can be sure of, you will not get out ALIVE.(sorry about that)