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The Kiss

The Kiss is an 1859 painting by the Italian artist Francesco Hayez, possibly his best known work. The painting symbolizes the romantic, nationalist and patriotic ideals of the Risorgimento, the movement towards Italian unification. Outwardly a passionate embrace between two anonymous individuals, the image has hidden meaning; shadowy figures at bottom left give an impression of conspiracy and danger. The man's foot resting on the step and the tight grasp with which his beloved is holding him convey the imminence of his departure. The dagger hidden in the mantle may refer to the imminent rebellion against the Habsburg invader, and the chromatic range of the picture symbolizes the political changes that involved Italy at the time, the blue of the woman's dress and the bright red of the young man's tights alluding to the colours of the French flag.

The picture is in the collection of the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan.

Painting credit: Francesco Hayez

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