Pablo Picasso, "Le baiser (The Kiss)," 1969, print

    Seldom in the history of painting has there been a kiss so sensual, so romantic, so appealing, so not-gross, as the smootch depicted here.

     

    Just kidding! The lovers in question gape past one another through lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll's eyes. The labial collision at the center of this work is as much a matter of nostrils and beard-hair as actual lips. Nasal holes take on an iterated arabesque shape which, while rotating to mime liplines, ears, and furry facial whorls, does sort of recall both a typographical comma and the f-holes of a violin. Let us not press this latter possibility, lest the painting begin to appear more interesting than it probably is. Ol' Pablo was pretty much phoning it in by this stage, but then again, often enough the greats do some of their greatest in states of somnolent semi-consciousness. So who knows?

    Moreover, who cares, right? I mean, it's a tasteful, framed Picasso print. It'll look great.

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