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The Kiss of Death

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El_Bes_de_la_MortArtist: Jaume Barba, or Joan Fontbernat
Year: 1930
Type: Marble

The Kiss of Death (El Petó de la Mort in Catalan and El beso de la muerte in Spanish) is a marble sculpture, found in Poblenou Cemetery in Barcelona. The sculpture is thought to have been created by Jaume Barba, although others have claimed that it’s idea was conceived by Joan Fontbernat. The sculpture depicts death, in the form of a winged skeleton, planting a kiss on the forehead of a handsome young man. The sculpture elicits varying responses from the people that view it: is it ecstasy on the face of the young man, or resignation?

Background

The sculpture is found above the grave of the textile manufacturer Josep Llaudet Soler. and was created in 1930. The tomb underneath contains the inscription:

“His young heart is thus extinguished. The blood in his veins grows cold. And all strength has gone. Faith has been extolled by his fall into the arms of death. Amen.”

The sculpture is often said to have inspired The Seventh Seal, by Ingmar Bergman.

Imagery

Rather than depicting death as a winged angel the sculptor instead chose a skeleton. The eroticism of the kiss is hard to escape – the sculpture shows youth welcoming death as a partner. The sculpture is at once romantic and horrifying, which leads to the varying views of the people that view it. It attracts and repels at once, the urge to touch combines with the desire to flee.

Licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses materials from the Wikipedia.

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