There is nothing like a kiss. The only thing that approaches it in intensity is the anticipation of a kiss. Little wonder that it’s been the subject of so many poems, songs and paintings throughout history. While an estimated ten per cent of the world’s population don’t kiss (we couldn’t believe it either), for the other 90 per cent it’s a cultural, social and physiological phenomenon (it releases hormones with many benefits) that’s kept a grip on society — and our individual selves — forever.
So, in honour of the kiss and of International Kissing Day on 6 July, we rounded up ten of history’s most iconic kisses (OK, and our favourites), and a few quotes that we hope will inspire you to get your lips out there.
The kiss itself is immortal. It travels from lip to lip, century to century, age to age. Men and women garner these kisses, offer them to others and then die in turn.
— Guy de Maupassant
1. The Kiss, Gustav Klimt, 1908
Austrian symbolist Gustav Klimt was known for his erotic studies of the female form, and for his works using gold and silver leaf, of which this is the best known. Playing with form in the finest traditions of early modernism, he presents hints of two shapes, united as the man bends to envelop his kneeling lover, who has a hand behind his neck while the other holds one of his. Ah, sweet surrender.