Today it is art. We focus on Auguste Rodin's statue in marble known as The Kiss, or Le Baiser in French, completed in 1882.
Originally entitled Francesca da Rimini because it was
in fact meant to be the 13th-century Italian noblewoman from Dante's
"Inferno" (Circle 2, Canto 5).
Here's the Dante story. Francesca fell in love with her husband's younger brother, Paolo. They fell in love whilst reading a story about Lancelot and Guinevere.
Her husband Giovanni Malatesta, (which means John Headache), discovers them and he kills both of them.
In the sculpture, if you look carefully, the book about Lancelot is seen in Paolo's hand. You can't see it in this photo but the book is behind Francesca's backside .
Also, in the sculpture, the couple's lips do not actually touch, suggesting that they were
interrupted by Giovanni and killed before they actually kissed.
Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
For some inexplicable reason Rodin decided it would be a good idea to make a marble statue of the moment they were interrupted before kissing, or doing anything else like playing monopoly for instance.
Obviously, he can't chisel a big block of marble from memory, so I'm guessing he used two models to sit still in this pose as he chipped away at the marble.
Looking at the statue, it must have been very uncomfortable for both of them to sit still in this position for ages. Her back is half-twisted and she is leaning on him. It must have been freezing too sitting on a piece of cold marble.
The poor lad must have been very nervous considering where her knee is placed!
Mind you, she's probably not overjoyed either. She's probably whispering, "You move your hand one inch and I'll knock your head off!"
Eventually, when the sculpture was finished it quickly became
controversial because of what and who it represented. When critics first
saw it in 1887, they suggested the less specific title Le Baiser (The Kiss).
Strange, but true ... I think!