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吻的故事(Story of "The Kiss")  

2014-07-22 17:54:14|  分类: 人生感悟 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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吻的故事(Story of The Kiss) - 夜色人生 - 夜色人生,为爱而生,微店改变人生

   While visiting the second circle in Hell, Virgil and Dante saw, among those who had committed sins of the flesh, Paolo and Francesca, two personages who had really lived in the Middle Ages in Italy. Around 1275, Francesca, the daughter of Guido da Polenta, married Gianciotto Malatesta, Lord of Rimini, who entrusted her in the care of his brother, the handsome young Paolo. Paolo and Francesca fell in love with each other while reading romances of courtly love. As soon as they exchanged their first kiss, Gianciotto caught them by surprise and stabbed them. "Love has led us to a unique death" Dante makes their shades say. This forbidden love and its consequent eternal damnation, was a favourite theme among 19th century artists, from Ingres to Delacroix, and from Ary Scheffer to Cabanel and Henri Martin.

  Rodin portrayed the famous lovers at the very instant they became aware of their feelings. He placed them in the centre of the left leaf of The Gates of Hell. This group was still in place at the beginning of 1886 but was removed shortly afterwards, probably because it portrayed a state of pure happiness which did not fit in with the theme of the composition. It was exhibited in Paris, then in Brussels in 1887, when it was given the title of The Kiss by critics who were surprised at the lack of costume or decorative details referring directly to Paolo and Francesca. Rodin had already rejected the easy solution of picturesque, litterary or mythological subjects which, by distracting the viewer, weakened the emotion that should be felt when contemplating a sculpture.

   Like many groups originating from the Gate, The Kiss became an independent work. On 31 January 1888, the Directorate of Fine Arts commissioned a version in marble, double the size, for the group was supposed to be shown at the Universal Exhibition which opened on 6 May 1889. Unfortunately, Jean Turcan, the practicien who was responsible for carving the group in marble, stopped working on it at the beginning of 1889. Rodin left it in abeyance ... and the marble version was only shown at the Salon of the Sociéte Nationale des Beaux-Arts in 1898, at the same time as the large model of Balzac. Aware of the scandal the latter would arouse, Rodin thought it would be prudent to exhibit a more traditional work as well. As he anticipated, all the praise went to The Kiss while his Balzac was showered with criticism. Yet he himself realized the progress accomplished by both. "The embrace of The Kiss is undoubtedly very attractive", he acknowledged. "But I have found nothing in this group. It is a theme frequently treated in the academic tradition, a subject complete in itself and artifically isolated from the world surrounding it; it is a big ornament sculpted according to the usual formula and which focuses attention on the two personages instead of opening up wide horizons to daydreams" (Paul Gsell, "Propos de Rodin sur l'art et les artistes", La Revue, 1st November 1907).

  After being presented again at the Universal Exhibition of 1900, The Kiss entered the Musée du Luxembourg before being deposited at the Rodin Museum, when it was created in 1918. But in 1900, two other marble replicas were ordered from Rodin, one by Carl Jacobsen for the sculpture museum he was setting up in Copenhagen, and the other by an art lover, Edward Perry Warren, for his own collection (now in the Tate Gallery in London). The three marble versions were exhibited together at the Musée d'Orsay in 1995 where it was possible to observe that the main differences lay in the way the blocks were carved and the degree of finish, The Kiss belonging to the Rodin Museum having an unfinished aspect which can be explained by the fact that work on it was suddenly stopped in early 1889.

  However much Rodin protested about the traditional character of The Kiss, it still remains one of his most famous works, and in the 20th century it continued to inspire other artists, culminating in Constantin Brancusi. While denying that he was influenced by Rodin (in whose studio he had spent a few months on his arrival in Paris), Brancusi treated this theme many times, from 1907 to 1945, and a fine example of The Kiss can be seen at Pompidou Centre.

(by Antoinette Le Normand-Romain ) 

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