Constantin Brâncuși – The Kiss (1907)

Born into a family of peasants in a small Romanian village, the modern sculptor Constantin Brâncuși (1876 – 1957) never lost track of his roots and humble beginnings. Even after he moved to Paris and built a prolific career in France, Brâncuși continued to present himself to the world as a peasant, with his unkempt appearance and simple clothing.

He combined his passion for Romanian folktales and mythology with the simplicity of the peasant life, resulting in masterful pieces of art, devoid of unnecessary embellishments. His quest? To capture the very essence of his subjects, to define the indefinable, the ephemeral. Like many in the French avant-garde, Brâncuși would also be inspired by African art.

 

Constantin Brâncuși - The Kiss (1907)
Constantin Brâncuși – The Kiss (1907)

The Kiss (1907) is a sculpture directly carved in stone that depicts a couple from their torsos up, kissing and melting in a loving embrace, their arms wrapped around one another.  The two symmetrical halves are barely differentiated in their simplicity, for it’s their unity that draws in the viewer. Choosing a rough stone over the classical marble, Brâncuși gave the sculpture an archaic, yet modern look (thanks to its abstractionism), in contrast with the literal style at the time, represented by the great French sculptor Auguste Rodin.

Brâncuși’s inspiration for this artwork is likely to have been The Kiss (1882) by Rodin, the Romanian’s execution pointing to the obvious differences in vision between the two artists. This new approach to art had been foreseen by a previous event: after having been accepted to Rodin’s workshop in 1906, Brâncuși left after just two months, allegedly saying “Nothing can grow in the shadow of large trees” (Rien ne pousse à l’ombre des grands arbres). Eager to forge his own path, he became a pioneer of modern abstract sculpture and one of the most celebrated sculptors of the 20th century.

 

14 thoughts on “Constantin Brâncuși – The Kiss (1907)

  1. Once again a phenomenal share with an excellent anecdote to make it even more memorable.
    I have always been drawn to the ideas of lovers ( or rather love ) overcoming death. This particular sculpture , the way two individuals arise and merge from one and into another is spell binding. Almost like the Lovers of Pompeii . Or another maddening image that I once saw of ruins of a building in Bangladesh. A very old building had collapsed, and with it almost a 1000 people perished.
    Here is the link to that haunting image. The Final Embrace.

    http://time.com/3387526/a-final-embrace-the-most-haunting-photograph-from-bangladesh/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That image is truly haunting, but at the same time I can’t think of a better way to die than in the arms of the person you love. I can understand the comfort in saying that you’d overcome death this way, yet if your ‘survival’ depends on people remembering and loving you, then that means you’re truly dead. No heartbroken lover left behind to think of you every day until you’re finally gone, even from their memories.

      P.S: I loved your comment and the link.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I cannot argue with you. All that you say here, is something I too agree with. 🙂
        My intent is to keep associating and connecting things. Plus that image doesn’t leave one alone easily. Hence the link and remembrance.
        Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. No, I really liked the comparisons to the Lovers of Pompeii and to the couple from Bangladesh. Photos, fossils, sculptures can show how to be defiant in the face of death, with love conquering our greatest fear.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful piece that inspires all that harmony that the arts must transmit even through a screen, impressive. The sculptures with this style that seem of the paleolithic genre manage to capture the attention and curiosity of many.

    I take this opportunity to congratulate all those who are dedicated to the arts and invite them to the auction to be held at the Museo del Prado, where works by artists like Thomas Galeotto and Gabino Amaya Cacho will be preserved.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. as a Romanian myself, I always look for clues of Romanian art, and boy is Brancusi ever so popular in New York. I had no idea that most of his pieces were there, and I was taken aback by how much the MoMa and the MET have spent on him. They even have replicas for sale made of marble in the gift shop. I loved your post very much.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Another excellent article! On my next visit to Philadelphia, I will have to go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and see their version of The Kiss by Constantin Brâncuși. Also, for your information, there is a Rodin Museum in Philadelphia.

    Liked by 1 person

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