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Francesco Hayez was the leading paintert of Italian Romanticism in mid-19th-century. He lived long and was prolific. His work spanned both historic paintings, including those that would have appealed to the patriotic sensibility of his patrons. Others reflect the desire to accompany a Neoclassic style to grand themes, either from biblical or classical literature. He also painted scenes from theatrical presentations of his day. Corrado Ricci describes him as starting as a classicist but then evolving to a style of emotional tumult. His portraits have the intensity seen with Ingres and the Nazarene movement. One of his favorite themes was a semi-clothed female. The depictions of harems and their women allowed them the ability to paint scenes not acceptable in their society. Even his Mary Magdalene has more sensuality than religious fervor. Among his paintings The Kiss was considered among his best works by contemporaries, and has only gained in admiration since then.

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