Christmas has come early to the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
, but a new sculpture is as much a gift to visitors as it is to the museum. Through March 15, 2010, museum visitors get a rare chance to view The Kiss (Le Baiser), one of only five lifetime casts, on this scale, of the bronze statue by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917).
On loan for a limited time from a private collector, the sculpture depicts the famous, forbidden embrace of historical figures Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta from Canto V of 'Dantes Inferno'.
This is a wonderful opportunity to display an amazing work by one of the greatest sculptors in history, said Ghislain dHumières, director of the FJJMA. The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is privileged to share this historical work with our visitors. I hope visitors will bring loved ones and see The Kiss during this short opportunity.
No stranger to themes of love and sensuality, Rodin was virtually unrivaled at communicating passion and romance among 19th-century sculptors. A distinctive feature original to this version of The Kiss is Paolos hand hovering over Francescas leg. During the production of the model, shrinkage of the clay caused his arm to pull away from grasping her leg, an accidental gesture that Rodin relished as poignant and more respectful.
This bronze cast was one of only a few made between 1887 and 1901, placing it among the earliest known casts created during Rodins lifetime. It was originally conceived as part of The Gates of Hell, which also included his most famous sculpture, The Thinker. However, Rodin eventually omitted The Kiss from the final work.