Francesco Hayez – The Kiss

The Kiss - 1859 Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

The Kiss - 1859
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

This painting conveys the main features of Italian Romanticism and has come to represent the spirit of the Risorgimento (Italian Unification). The painting represents a couple from the Middle Ages, embracing. It is among the most passionate and intense representations of a kiss in the history of Western art. The girl leans backwards while the man bends his left leg so as to support her, simultaneously placing a foot on the step next to him as though poised to go at any moment. The painting aims to portray the spirit of the Risorgimento. The girl's pale blue dress signifies France, which in 1859 (the year of the painting's creation) made an alliance with the Kingdom of Piedmont and Sardinia, enabling the latter to unify the many states of the Italian peninsula into the new kingdom of Italy. To see the original:

Ed Wheeler

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