Smacking down in Norman, Auguste Rodin's 'The Kiss' pays lip service to doomed lovers

Auguste Rodin's "The Kiss"
Through March 15, 2010
Fred Jones Museum of Art
555 Elm, Norman
$5 adults, $4 seniors, $3 children 6-17

When Dante descends to the second level of hell in his 14th-century allegorical poem "Inferno," he speaks to a woman caught in the vortex of swirling lovers condemned by lust. Trapped in an embrace with the man beside her, she describes how "this one, who never shall be parted from me, while all his body trembled, kissed my mouth."

More than 500 years later, when French sculptor Auguste Rodin created "The Gates of Hell," he included these two lovers, Francesca de Rimini and Paolo Malatesta, among nearly 200 figures. He eventually separated the couple from the massive sculptural doorway into a piece called "The Kiss." A cast of this sculpture is on display at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.

"It shows a very gifted artist who was able to work so much detail with the tension of the muscle, and also the making of the bronze and the play of light on the work," said Ghislain d'Humi

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