When I was in high school, one of my classmates presented a series of slides in which he explained how, through a variety of works of modern and antique art, he could teach us how to give a kiss. I can't quite describe what the display of images made me feel, but I keep remembering that moment once in a while. Of course, no one paid attention to him, not even the girl he was trying to conquer.
I still wonder if they ever kissed and if it is really possible to learn about caressing and kissing through paintings and not dancing, for example.
Before the medieval culture of courtly love, there wasn't a solid notion of love in the west; so in that time, poets invented this complicated and overly romantic idea of loving someone to the limits of madness. Only the Hindi culture knew how to spend just a good night of passion, and it wasn't until Romanticism that the idea of kissing became the embodiment of true love. Of course, in the west the act of sex was still modest and tightly constrained.
Many years have passed since that event in high school. Today, being stuck in a desk and after having a disagreement with someone, I stubbornly try to remember what I saw that day. Thus, I will repeatedly call this experiment “a monument to the works of art that taught us how to kiss and something more about love.”
The Fisherman and the Syren (1858), Frederic Leighton
In the painting it seems as if the Siren was the only one in love, while the Fisherman is just lying there, clinging to the rock. Just as in love: someone will look passively to the one who gives a beguiling kiss.
The Kiss (1859), Francesco Hayez
Dress up with a mysterious aura, the cape and hat show that kissing and passion are more pleasurable in the shadows of intimacy. Put yourself in front of your loved one, lean your hips, slightly open your legs and, discreetly, trap her between your thighs while you caress her face and kiss her.
Paolo and Francesca (1864), Anselm Feuerbach
Tell her that you didn’t understand the class (it’s a classic!). After staring lasciviously, he or she will kiss you. After that, just sin, sin a lot.
Chez le père Lathuille (1879), Édouard Manet
When she talks, just look at her. Lose yourself in her eyes, and once in a while take a look at her lips so that she knows what you're thinking about. Pay attention, the signal to give a kiss can be subtle.
In Bed, The Kiss (1892), Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec
Once you're in bed, don’t think about anything else and make every kiss count.
“Oh, kiss me beneath the milky twilight, lead me out on the moonlit floor, lift you open hand, strike up the band, and make the fireflies dance silver moon’s sparkling; so kiss me.”
The Kiss (1909), Gustav Klimt
Now here, it is she who succumbs to the kiss. Everything around you becomes luminescent and you'll bask in the glow of passion.
The Tempest (The Bride of the Wind) (1914), Oskar Kokoschka
After sex, if you don’t fall asleep, don’t lie there fidgeting; you are with that person because it was a mutual decision spurred by love and desire. Turn and look at her, caress her body again, look how you have become intertwined beneath the sheets and focus on the breathing of the other.
The Embrace (1917), Egon Schiele
This is a golden rule: after making love, hug each other, and if possible, whisper something in her ear. Something caring, depraved, or simply loving.
The Lovers II (1928), René Magritte
When we kiss we close our eyes to give way to our fantasies, metaphorically, of course: nevertheless, from the outside it looks as if love has blinded them to all else. When kissing, put everything to one side, even yourself.
Kiss II (1963), Roy Lichtenstein
When two people are kissing a pop world is created, but each kiss is also the beginning of a private end of one world and the birth of another shared by two individuals. This reminds me of the title and main argument of a book where the author, Frédéric Beigbeder, states in a very cynical way that “love lasts three days” (1997). Sometimes love is undecipherable but we can still unravel a tiny bit of its meaning through these paintings.
During that school presentation, I remember the moment when Lichtenstein’s painting appeared: the computer froze and the teacher said something like “to learn how to kiss one must do it with profound love." Then, the lady, who had around fifty or sixty years old, looked through the window; only some of us noticed that her eyes were focused in a remote and insignificant memory of her youth. The class finished, some went out to play soccer, I stayed in the classroom, reading. The teacher took a moment to pick up her things and leave.
Love is what brings us together and, at the same time, what pulls us apart. If you want to know more about the influence of emotions in art you can go to 6 Paintings That Will Remind You of The Tragedy of Love or, Paintings That Show What It Feels Like To Live With Depression