It Started Out with a Kiss - Alexander Pagodin

This gallery is a collection of representations of an essential function of both romantic and platonic love, the kiss, throughout history; from street murals in modern day Palermo to 17th century paintings. While the artists' interpretations of this time-old display of affection differ drastically, the act still remains the same in meaning and execution.

“Kiss” by Chang Hong depicts two lovers in formal attire holding each other very closely. The man is kissing the woman’s ear or neck. Both lovers' eyes are closed. The man’s bright white suit contrasts deeply with the woman’s jet-black dress. However, there is no negative space between the lovers; they are literally entwined. The usage of line or shading to differentiate where each body begins and ends is nearly absent, especially towards their hips and lower.
“The Kiss” by Edvard Munch depicts two lovers kissing but is quite strange and surreal. Firstly, the faces of the lovers are literally melded together. The only visible feature on either of them is the man’s ear. The only clues we have as to the gender of these people are their body shapes and clothing. Also, the color and value of the lovers does not contrast greatly with the negative space, making it more difficult to see them.
“The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt shows two lovers wrapped in a mystical myriad of gold, colorful shapes, and a bed of flowers. The man pulls the woman’s face in and kisses her cheek. The line between reality and fantasy is blurred as they are becoming entirely engulfed by some otherworldly blanket. Perspective is lost, as they appear to be lying down but have a perpendicular relationship to the bed of flowers beneath them, as if they were standing. The dazzling triadic color harmony and strange geometric shapes and patterns make this piece very visually stimulating.
“The Kiss II” by Koh Sang Woo pictures two lovers, who appear to be naked, in the moment directly before (or after) a passionate kiss. This piece offers a very interesting perspective with the ‘glow-in-the-dark’ style colors and deep contrast with the jet-black negative space. In fact, what we are looking at may indeed be two people with special paint covering their bodies in a dark room, as it is easy to overlook that this is a photograph and not a painting.
“Paledo, Palermo, Buenos Aires” by Pelado is a mural showing a man and a woman engaging in a passionate kiss. The modernity of this piece is apparent from the t-shirts, denim jeans, and sneakers. Also, this piece brings more lustful energy than the other pieces in this gallery. This can be noted by the way the man is leaning into the woman, one hand on her lower back and the other on her inner thigh, which both help to illustrate movement.
“Night (no. 2)” by William Orpen showcases a unique interpretation of a kiss between lovers. The piece depicts a woman sitting in some sort of chair bending her head backwards to meet the man’s lips who is crouching over her. What seems like an unexpected kiss is emphasized by the fact that the lovers are slightly off-center and the color of the man blends in with the background.
“Mother’s Kiss” by Mary Cassatt depicts a mother holding her naked son in her arms and kissing him on the lips. The child has a sad or frightened expression on his and the mother appears to be endeavoring to calm him. The child’s bright pale skin contrasts with the mother’s pale blue gown. However, the identical colors of both the skin and hair of the mother and child give them a connectedness.
“Kiss” by Hyung Koo shows a close up view of a man and a woman deep in a passionate kiss. The woman’s head is bent backwards which could insinuate that they are lying down, height difference, or that the man is bending her down with his arms in an incredibly romantic gesture. Although this piece only uses white, gray, and black, the artist still achieves stunning realism through shading, line work, and values.
“Kiss IV” by Edvard Munch is a woodcut piece that shows an image resembling a man and a woman kissing. The word “resembling” is used because it is difficult to say with certainty that one would be able to make out what is happening without any context. There is very little detail; the only parts that can be made out are the hands/arms, hairlines, and the woman’s neck. The deep black of the subject contrasts deeply with the tan/light brown of the wood grain.
“Kissing couple” depicts two lovers kissing. However, both of their eyes are open. The man appears to be looking at the woman while the woman appears to be gazing in wonderment at something above her. The hues and tendency toward darker values, particularly in the shading, create a warm and encompassing feeling. There is balance both in position and symmetry of the lovers. Also, the color of the woman’s hair and the man’s hat marry well together.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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