THE KISS: A Celebration of Love in Art

Carolus-Duran (Charles Durand), The Kiss, 1868.  Oil on canvas, 36 ¼ x 35 ¾ in.  (92 x 91 cm).  Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille.
Carolus-Duran (Charles Durand), The Kiss, 1868. Oil on canvas, 36 ¼ x 35 ¾ in. (92 x 91 cm). Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille.
  • Théodore Jacques Ralli, The Kiss, 1887.  Oil on canvas, 9 ½ x 13 in.  (24 x 33 cm).  Private collection.

    Théodore Jacques Ralli, The Kiss, 1887. Oil on canvas, 9 ½ x 13 in. (24 x 33 cm). Private collection.

  • © THE KISS: A Celebration of Love in Art by Serge Bramly and Jean Coulon, Flammarion, 2012.

    © THE KISS: A Celebration of Love in Art by Serge Bramly and Jean Coulon, Flammarion, 2012.

A kiss can be romantic or platonic, it can be a sign of affection or a greeting, and can be exchanged between lovers or family, friends, and even business acquaintances. In each capacity, the kiss is replete with meaning, so it is no wonder that this symbol is often depicted in works of art. Hundreds of paintings, sculptures, photographs, and drawings throughout recorded history and from across the globe have illustrated smacks, smooches, and bisous, many of which are explored in detail in THE KISS: A CELEBRATION OF LOVE IN ART.

The tongue-in-cheek text provides historical context and analyzes artistic details in 130 images of kisses. A dazzling array of artworks are presented, from Klimt’s iconic cheek kiss to Caravaggio’s depiction of Narcissus trying to kiss his own reflection, and from Lichtenstein’s Ben-Day dot-style lovers to candid Brassaï photographs of lips coming together, exploring all manner of the portrayal of and obsession with the kiss that will leave you burning to make your own work of art – or to give someone you love a passionate kiss of your own.

In fact, reading a book on art is like kissing… [Books on art] intensify yearning and offer a foretaste of possession, thereby reinforcing desire. You acquire knowledge by allowing yourself to flirt with a subject, then you marvel at such knowledge, and suddenly you want to know more.” - From the chapter Foreplay

THE KISS
A Celebration of Love in Art
By Serge Bramly and Jean Coulon

Flammarion (distributed by Rizzoli through Random House)
Hardcover / 8” x 10¾” / 256 pages / 131 color illustrations
PRICE: $45.00 U.S., $51.00 Canadian
ISBN: 978-2-08-020098-3
PUBLICATION DATE: September 2012
www.rizzoliusa.com

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Gustav Klimt, "The Arts, Paradise Choir, and The Embrace (detail of Beethoven Frieze)," 1902.  Casein paint, chalk, graphite, applied plaster, and various appliqué materials, 84.7 x 189.4 in.  (215 x 481 cm).  Oesterreichische Galerie im Belvedere, Vienna, Austria © Belvedere, Vienna

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