Sculpture Reproductions Collection
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"The events of my life would fill more than a novel. It would take an epic, the Iliad and the Odyssey, and a Homer to tell my story "I won't recount it today, I don't want to sadden you. I have fallen into an abyss. I live in a world so curious, so strange. Of the dream that was my life, this is the nightmare."
The Waltz, developed in 1889-90, but not shown at the Salon until 1893, was a pretext for experimenting with different materials. The stoneware version with flambé glaze is an example of her investigations into colour and texture that border on art nouveau. In a letter to the Minister of Fine Arts, dated 8 February 1890, Claudel emphasized that the group had been "considered very good by several artists, in particular Monsieur Rodin".
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) As Judith Cladel, the friend and biographer of Rodin, suggested, this torso is probably a study for the caryatids Rodin made in 1878 at the Villa Neptune, on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. But it is only towards 1889, in the final version of the lintel of the Gates of Hell, that it appears, with a right arm and both legs. This torso of Adèle - the name of the presumed model - subsequently became an autonomous figure.
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) Rodin used his existing works in a thousand ways: by breaking them up, re-grouping them, reworking in various materials and also by changing the scale - enlarging or reducing ? which completely changes how the sculpture is expressed and its impact on the viewer.
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) This small figurine, huddled up on itself and ready to leap up in a burst of energy, represents the dancer and choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky (1889-1950). Rodin was very interested in the different forms of contemporary dance, as practised, for example, by Loïe Fuller, Isadora Duncan, Nijinsky, or other performers of the French Cancan, as well as in Cambodian dancers. He found in this ephemeral art an opportunity to capture and fix the most fleeting movement.
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) Mercury, known to the Greeks as Hermes, was Jupiter's son. Among his many functions, he was charged with conducting the souls of the dead to the Underworld and being the messenger of the gods. Rodin preferred this dramatic aspect of his character.
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) The origin of Iris can be traced to the enlargement of a study for the allegorical figure intended to crown the second project for the Monument to Victor Hugo (1897), in which the poet is portrayed standing, with the figure placed in a plunging position. It was then completed by a stretched right arm, a head and a pair of wings.
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) Helene von Hindenburg, who married Alfred von Nostitz-Wallwitz in 1904, was introduced to Rodin by Count Harry Kessler, a German diplomat and man of letters. She had just seen the exhibition in the Pavillon de l'Alma (1900) and was fascinated by the sculptor's art.
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) In 1900, the critic Gustave Kahn wrote, "Rodin is the sculptor of hands, raging, tensed, arched, damned hands". There is no doubt that Rodin attached more importance to this part of the body than any other. Fascinated by the expressive power of isolated hands, he studied them unceasingly, accumulating in his studio numerous studies in clay or plaster, in which the sensitivity of the modelling vies with the verisimilitude of the gesture.
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) By modelling this bold work, Rodin broke away completely from all types of traditional compositions and adopted a form that appealed directly to the imagination. The hand powerfully moulding the matter from which the human being is created represents the divinity bringing forth humanity from emptiness. It is also a symbolic image of the artist inventing a world.
"I consider that the body is the only true clothing for the soul, that allows its radiance to shine out." (Rodin to Gsell, 1907) Auguste Rodin turned himself into its high priest, even though he most often showed love as tormented. The front-facing composition leads one to suppose that this group was perhaps originally designed as part of the Gates of Hell, but The Eternal Spring was finally excluded.
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) Throughout Rodin's career, the couple was a constant source of inspiration, enabling him to express all nuances of tenderness, passion and sensuality. Along with The Kiss, Fugit Amor, Eternal Spring, Paolo and Francesca, The Eternal Idol is one of the most famous groups inspired by this theme.
Rodin tried to capture the essence of the body in movement. Unlike Degas, who obviously comes to mind when looking at this series, classical ballet did not much interest Rodin who found it stilted and conventional. He was more interested in different forms of dance which he considered to be more authentic or more modern: such as the dances of King Sisowath of Cambodia's dancers, but also Loïe Fuller, Isadora Duncan, Nijinsky and French Cancan dancers.
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) Rodin's works, especially The Gates of Hell, inspired by Dante's Divine Comedy, include a throng of damned figures: Grief-Stricken Damned Woman, Thunderstruck Damned Woman, a group of two Damned Women... Originally designed for The Gates of Hell, these figures would subsequently lead independent lives after being reproduced or cast separately.
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) Already, in 1885, Camille Claudel was working alongside Rodin ; as a pupil and assistant, she rapidly became the master's associate. Musée Rodin has various examples in plaster (1884) and in glass paste (1911) of the portrait of Camille Claudel with a hat, incorrectly called "Camille Claudel in a Phrygian cap", produced at start of their stormy relationship which was to last some 15 years.
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) This small group is a combination of pre-existing figures. The seated female figure was borrowed from Rodin's Galatea, itself inspired by Camille Claudel's Young Girl with a Sheaf (c.1887), and the boy can be related to the figures of children that Rodin modelled in the 1870s and 1880s.
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) This famous group was to have been part of the monumental Gates of Hell, commissioned from Rodin by the future Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, a work which was not cast in bronze until after the artist's death. The two leaves of this door, covered with a crowd of intertwined characters, illustrate Dante's Inferno.
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) The Thinker by Rodin is undoubtedly one of the crowning glories of Rodin's art. It was not created as an isolated figure but as part of the monument known as The Gates of Hell which the State ordered from Rodin in 1880 for the future Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, a work which was only cast in bronze after his death.