Rodin's The Kiss
1 Mar 2013 – 2 Feb 2014
The iconic sculptural depiction of sexual love, on loan from the Tate collection.
Having first shown The Kiss to huge popular acclaim in 1898, Auguste Rodin was commissioned to make this second version, which was completed in 1904.
It depicts the adulterous lovers Paolo Malatesta and Francesca da Rimini from Dante's The Divine Comedy; a pair whose passion grew as they read together the story of Lancelot and Guinevere. The book can just be seen in Paolo's hand.
But things turned sour for the pair when they were discovered and murdered by Francesca's outraged husband –who also happened to be Paolo's older brother – Giancotto.
This tragic tale inspired many other literary and musical artists in the nineteenth century and is the subject of the Francesca da Rimini painting by Sir William Dyce, also on display in the gallery.
Three full-scale marble versions of The Kiss were made in Rodin's lifetime and the sculptor also made smaller versions in plaster, terracotta and bronze.
In fact it was so popular that hundreds of bronze copies were produced by the Barbedienne foundry, resulting in it becoming one of the most well-known works of art in the world.