Introduction

In the Tate Modern there is a version of Auguste Rodin's The Kiss (1901-4) which can be seen on the cover of this book. A couple emerges from the block of marble in a rapturous embrace, the meeting of their lips deliberately concealed from the viewer. The woman leans into the embrace, turning and pulling the man down. Her leg presses over his thigh, gently prising his legs apart, whilst his right hand rests tentatively on her thigh and his left rests round her torso, barely holding on to the discarded book they have been reading. What is it that makes this work special? Why are we inclined to savour the form of their caress as beautiful? Should knowing more about the couple and the sculpture affect our appreciation? Perhaps you think it shows us something about the nature of erotic love or that if it commends immoral passions we should think less of it as art. Do you think we can demand or expect that other people appreciate it as art as we do? The ways we treat art works, describe them, discuss them, argue about them, painstakingly care for and restore them, award

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Revealing Art
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