In order to provide you with the best online experience this website uses cookies. If you click close button, you agree to our use of cookies.

Hayez, The Kiss (1859)

Brera Picture-Gallery, Milan

"High definition image currently not available for viewing. For any information write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it."


Author: Francesco Hayez
Title: The kiss. Episode of youth. Costumes of the 14th century
Date: 1859
Technique: oil on canvas
Dimension: 112 x 88 cm
Location: Brera Picture-Gallery, Milan

The painting became immediately popular since its presentation in Brera on September 9, 1859, three months after the triumphal entry in Milan of Vittorio Emanuele II and Napoleon III, victorious allies against the Austrian Empire, even if with the armistice of Villafranca Venice and Veneto region were still Austrian. 
It is the first description that Francesco Hayez gave about the subject, made for the Count Alfonso Maria Visconti di Saliceto, who offered it to the Picture-Gallery in 1886. The reasons of success lay not only in the excellent execution's quality - theatricality and naturalness blend together - but also in the universal nature of the subject (the strength of love) and in the ability to epitomize the Mazzini's ideals.
A real omen of growth for the young nation - this is the meaning of the subtitle the yearning kiss of the two youngsters hints at the alliance between Italy and France during the Independence wars.
The hug between the two nations gave birth to the new Italy, and the colours of the dresses of the two lovers, produced with great materic character, recall those of the two national flags. The emotional intensity of the scene is made stronger by the disquieting shadow appearing on the stairs on the left side, powerfully suggesting a feeling of danger, perhaps the expression of the concern of Hayez and his contemporaries about the achievement of the Risorgimento dream.

Photo Shoot

Image Size:4.488.512.000 pixel (74.560 x 60.200)
Colour Depth: 16 bit for channel
Shooting: February 2011
Shots: 264 

Camera Body: Nikon D3X
Pictures Acquisition Software: Nikon Camera Control Pro 2
Quality Control and Postprocessing Software: Nikon Capture NX 2

Courtesy by Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali - Soprintendenza per i beni storici artistici ed etnoantropologici per le province di Milano, Bergamo, Como, Lecco, Lodi, Monza, Pavia, Sondrio, Varese

All rights reserved

Francesco Hayez (Venenice 1791- Milan 1882)

After a sound neoclassical artistic education, experienced between Venice and Rome, he worked in Milan as of the 1920’s where he became the highest representative of the historic Romanticism.
Full professor of painting at the Brera Academy, he spread his influence, also thanks to an extraordinary teaching, able to join rigour of composition, mimetic perfection and skilful capacity in using colours.
He was an extraordinary and sought-after portraitist, as well as one of the main interpreters of the civil and patriotic commitment in the historic painting, as much as Mazzini deemed him “chief of the Historic Painting, demanded by the National thought in Italy”.