Go to contents

Love which crossed the line

Posted June. 16, 2022 07:53,   

Updated June. 16, 2022 07:53


We often say “crossed the line” when people break the rules or limits which they should comply with. The Kiss, a masterpiece of Auguste Rodin, is known as one of the best sculpture describing the love between couples, but in truth, it describes the love which crossed the line.

The sensuous sculpture of lovers hugging, and kissing was originally part of the bronze sculpture The Gates of Hell, which Auguste Rodin placed much efforts for many years. The plan was frustrated but this sculpture was commissioned in 1880 by the French government to be installed at a new museum in Paris. Auguste Rodin was inspired by the Divine Comedy: Inferno of Dante. The models for the sculpture are lovers Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Maltesta in the book. The reason they ended upon the hell is because they crossed the line.

The male sculpture has a book in his hand if you take a little closer look at the sculpture. The two lovers fell in love while reading about Guinevere and Lancelot in King Arthur. The affair between the queen and the knight may have added courage to the two for the man Francesca hugged passionately happened to be her husband’s brother of all things. The moment the two fell in love and were about to kiss each other when they were caught by Francesca’s husband and were both killed. The husband is alike in crossing the line for murdering his wife for having an affair. Could it have been an instinctive attraction to the unfulfilled love? When Auguste Rodin was deeply fascinated by this sculpture, he left Rose Beuret who gave birth to their son and met the 19-year-old beautiful Camille Claudel and fell in love. Auguste Rodin spent passionate time with Camille Claudel who was very talented in sculpture as sculpture and model, and fellow artist and lovers.

Auguste Rodin was lucky. No matter how bad his affair was, his faithful wife stood by him all his life. Unlike Paolo and Francesca who both fell into the hell, Auguste Rodin built his reputation as a sculptor even after he parted with Camille Claudel. It is a pity however, for her to be confined to the psychiatric hospital being unable to bloom her talent and spending an infernal 30 years of her life. Unfairly the price to pay for the love which crossed the line was only borne by Camille Claudel.