From the architecture to the clothing, this painting has a traditional Mediterranean atmosphere. There is also romance from this touching embrace which explains the title of this piece. Influences such as this were common in Victorian Britain and can also be found in the work of artists like Dicksee, Godward, Alma-Tadema and Waterhouse.
This type of content would soon lose favour with art academics and many artists such as Leighton would lose any prominence for around a century. It was due to the new art movements that were taking over, bringing abstract art to the masses. In recent years, however, the UK has started to embrace these artists once more with Pre-Raphaelite exhibitions, for example, being particularly common.
To achieve such a finesse within portraiture required a huge level of training and practice. Leighton was no different in that regard. Even great names such as Da Vinci and Michelangelo would have to repeatedly hone their skills in order to master this craft, as demonstrated by the huge catalogue of study drawings which have since surfaced from their careers, including work that focuses entirely on an individual limb or elements of a pose.