Visitors to my favourite gallery in Paris, l’Orangerie, will likely be familiar with the smooching statue outside the main entrance.
Le Baiser (The Kiss) is a work by famed sculptor Auguste Rodin. Inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy, Le Baiser depicts two characters who were murdered for falling in love.
“‘The Kiss’ was originally inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy and depicts two of its characters; Paolo and Francesca. In the epic poem, Francesca is arranged to marry Gianciotto through his family. Though noble, Gianciotto was deformed and his father knew that Francesca would not accept the marriage. He had his other son, the handsome Paolo, stand in during the ceremony to assure the wedding would proceed. After reading the story of Lancelot and Guinevere, the two became lovers whilst Francesca was under the assumption that Paolo was her new husband. Upon discovery of his brother’s deception, Gianciotto murdered them both before repenting. For their adultery, the two are punished to hell.“
source: Civic Arts Project
I have visited l’Orangerie several times and never knew the significance behind the sculpture. Honestly, I thought it was just another steamy example of French PDA in Jardin des Tuileries.
Here’s James barely hiding an eye roll behind his shades. He absolutely loves getting his photo taken.