This is one of the most famous romantic paintings of all time.
This oil on canvas painting ensured the status of Francesco Hayez as an Romantic Italian Painter, representing the patriotic spirit of the nineteenth century Risorgimento.
The Kiss by Francesco Hayez depicts freedom and patriotic love as much as romantic emotions. It’s consequently become an icon of Italian painting, representing national pride and unity.
The Risorgimento (otherwise known as the Unification of Italy) took place during the nineteenth century.
Following Napoleonic France's defeat In 1815, the Congress of Vienna redrew the map of Europe. Italy was due to return to the pre-war patchwork of princely independent states.
Despite this, a popular current of Republicanism and growing national pride was steadily rising. The Austrian Empire and Habsburgs aggressively repressed Italian nationalist activity. Small independent states were highly controlled by the other European powers.
Consequently, Il Bacio represents a young patriotic Italian soldier kissing his love goodbye. He’s about to leave (with one foot already resting on the step), ready to fight for his country against foreign tyranny. The tight embrace further emphasizes the imminent farewell.
Despite the hopeful, patriotic nature of the painting, there are hints that danger lurks. A shadowy figure is just visible in the left-hand corner, representing the conspiracy and danger rife in Italy at this time.
Amongst Francesco Hayez artworks, The Kiss is significant for its historical background. Although originally commissioned by Alfonso Maria Visconti di Saliceto (a well-known Milanese patriot), Hayez actually painted another four versions.
Hayez escaped any form of censorship due to the allegorical nature of his paintings. Indeed, Francesco Hayez explored the theme of passionate embraces in earlier kiss paintings.
Other allegorical works include Ultimo Bacio di Giulietta e Romeo (1823) which presents the two lovers Romeo and Juliet. In this artwork, Romeo passionately pulls Juliet closer to him, with one hand on her lower back. It caused a scandal on its initial exhibition, but cemented Hayez’ leading reputation.
Ever since its creation, The Kiss has massively influenced Italian artists, writers and musicians. As a representation of truth, beauty and hope, it’s appeared on posters, advertising and even in other paintings. Indeed, it appears in the background of Gerolamo Induno’s Sadness (1862) and even featured on mass-produced chocolates during the 1920s.
Inspired by the courtly love and bravery of the Middle Ages, Hayez aimed to bring this theme into the modern day. Although the painting is extremely political, the ultimate focus is on the kiss itself.
The couple themselves aren’t recognizable, with their pure act of love right at the center of the composition. The lines of the diagonal steps work to draw the viewer’s eye towards the lovers’ heads.
The sumptuous fabrics and vivid fabrics depicted in The Kiss demonstrate the importance of Hayez’ early training in Venice. The treatment of the woman’s silk dress is highly reminiscent of Titian’s Portrait of a Man with a Quilted Sleeve (1509) and the Venetian celebration of “colorito” as the dominant compositional element.
This applied not just to the colors themselves, but also focused on careful handling of paint to create the naturalistic effects of light and texture so evident in Il Bacio.
The blue of the woman’s dress and the man’s red hat also pay tribute to the French tricolore. Just before Hayez painted the work, France allied with Italy against the Austrian and Habsurg Empires.
Francesco Hayez was an Italian painter born in Venice. He was famous for his portraits of nobility, religious scenes and oriental themes involving semi-naked women. Hayez studied in Venice, then Rome and Naples. He then moved to Milan, where he was appointed Director of the Academy of Brera, in 1850. One of Francesco Hayez’ most famous paintings, The Kiss, is a classic symbol of the Italian Romanticism Movement painting, depicting an embrace between a couple.
You can now own a hand painted oil on can by Francesco Hayez.- https://www.reproduction-gallery.com/artist/francesco-hayez/ - https://www.reproduction-gallery.com/oil-painting/1516350253/the-kiss-1859-by-francesco-hayez/ - https://www.reproduction-gallery.com/movement/romanticism/
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