The sculpture is part of the Tate Collections in London and is on loan to The Wilson to celebrate the fact that it is 100 years since Rodin was resident in Cheltenham.
‘The Kiss’ is a renowned symbol of young love and depicts a tragic story from Dante’s ‘Inferno’ of the adulterous love of Paolo Malatesta and Francesca di Rimini whose passion grew as they read together the romance of Lancelot and Guinevere from the Arthurian Legends. Paolo and Francesca were discovered by Francesca’s jealous husband who killed both the lovers.
According to Museum, Arts and Tourism Manager, Jane Lillystone:
“It is thought that Rodin came here to escape Paris in the face of German advance. Rodin stayed at Sussex House (no 54) a guest house near Pittville Gates, run by a widow named Mrs Gandy due to his relationship with Judith Cladel, his friend and biographer who came to Cheltenham to visit her sister. It is likely that he was in Cheltenham in September and October of 1914, although local legend has exaggerated this to one year in some accounts.”
Entry to The Wilson is free and if you would like more information go to www.thewilson.org.uk.
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