A Year of Creating Dangerously, Day 46: A Kiss is Just a Kiss

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“Here’s Looking at You” Ronald Kok, 2016, Charcoal on paper

Though it is February 15, I thought it might still be okay to stay on the Love theme of Valentine’s Day! Here are some famous romantic images from the history of art (and one not-so-famous that I drew myself – my wife and I on our wedding day). You’ll see the tenderness, emotion, passion, ridiculousness, clumsiness and mystery of love in these artworks. A kiss is just a kiss… unless it is preserved forever on paper, canvas or in stone, of course.

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“The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt, 1908. Certainly the most famous of all of Klimt’s work, infused with his trademark eroticism.

 

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“Pygmalion and Galatea” by Jean-Leon Gerome, 1890. This painting depicts the story by Ovid of Pygmalion, the statue created by Galatea, which is brought to life by the goddess Venus.

 

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“In Bed: the Kiss” by Henri de Toulouse-Latrec, 1892. For its time period, this is a shockingly intimate moment to be portrayed in art.

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“The Kiss” by Constantin Brancusi. One of four versions of this sculpture that Brancusi created. This work makes me laugh as it reminds me that most of us don’t have that Greek god/goddess body: We look more like one of these two!

The Kiss 1901-4 by Auguste Rodin 1840-1917

“The Kiss” by Auguste Rodin. And then there are those with those Greek god/goddess bodies… In this famous sculpture, the lovers’ lips never actually touch, symbolizing a story to two lovers who were killed before they had the chance to consummate their love for each other.

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“The Birthday” by Marc Chagall, 1915. Chagall pictures himself and his wife Bella in dreamy and playful bliss on the occasion of her birthday. As others have remarked, Chagall illustrates how he could bend over backwards for love.

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“Kiss V” by Roy Lichtenstein, 1964. I love Lichtenstein’s comic book-inspired art. This embrace leaves room for ambiguity: Is this joy, sadness, or grief? We can’t be sure. However, we can be sure of the genuine affection and empathy of this piece, despite the graphic art nature of it.

A Year of Creating Dangerously, Day 18: Sincere Flattery Gallery

The saying goes: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. It also happens to be a dynamite way to re-educate yourself in art!

About 25 years elapsed between the time I graduated from Calvin College with a Fine Arts Degree to when I began to seriously make art again. I had dabbled in things, of course. I drew cartoons, did the occasional artwork for some church event, whipped out a drawing for my kids to color, etc. but to actually sit down and draw for drawing sake… it had been a loooooong time. So I set about putting myself through some basics of art education. One of my favorite things to do was look up famous portraits by the masters and attempt to copy them. Now “copy” sounds like I was sharpening my forgery skills. No – I was looking at the Greats in order to teach myself more about color and form, the use of line and shade, and all those things that flow so much better when you haven’t been NOT doing art for a loooooong time! I wasn’t trying for exact replicas and ¬†was using cheap oil pastels and pencil crayons on lousy paper. Basically they were ramshackle sketches of masterpieces. But I enjoyed the process and the results gave me confidence to create again.

Here is a gallery of of my Sincere Flattery and my sincere attempt to get my Art-Jones back again! It probably goes without saying but the original is on the left! And if you want to know the artist and artwork, the caption is supposed to pop up when you put the cursor on the portrait (at least it did for me – sorry if it doesn’t work for you). All of my copies are done in oil pastels with some pencil crayon touches. The one just below was done with a $2 set of pastels from a teacher’s supply store! Enjoy.