Auguste Rodin has been appreciated for decades as one of the pre-eminent Realist sculptors of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century. Rodin’s goal, as he put it, was “to render inner feelings through muscular movement.” He achieved this aim by joining his profound knowledge of anatomy and movement with special attention to the body’s surfaces, saying, “The sculptor must learn to reproduce the surface, which means all that vibrates on the surface, soul, love, passion, life…Sculpture is thus the art of hollows and mounds, not of smoothness, or even polished planes.” To this end, his detailed modeling and energetic poses are strikingly vigorous and lifelike…even one hundred years after they were created.
Rodin’s Eternal Kiss – This sculpture is based on a love story reported by Dante in his Divine Comedy and sculptured by Rodin for The Gates of Hell. Francesca’s father arranged for her to be married to Gianciotto in a political union to end a war between Malatesta and Rimini. Gianciotto’s younger brother, Paolo, was sent to advise Francesca. Upon meeting, they fell in love. Tricked into marriage with Gianciotto, Francesca pursued Paolo until one day they were found in her room. Gianciotto thrust a rapier towards Paolo, but struck both Francesca in her bosom and Paolo.
The lovers were buried together in a tomb. Their love has frequently been illustrated by artists, such as Rodin who captures the tenderness of their eternal kiss.
Rodin’s The Thinker – A penny for your thoughts’ “The Thinker” (1879-89) was originally designed by Auguste Rodin as part of a larger sculptural program called “The Gates of Hell”. Once removed, the sculpture has become synonymous with deep intellectual contemplation.
Cathedral Clasping Hands by Rodin
Auguste Rodin’s late 19th century sculpture expresses the triumphant interaction of two hands about to clasp. They form an upright Cathedral as a symbol of hope and faith.
The Danaide Nude Curled on Rock Statue was executed during a period when Rodin was exploring the female nude in recumbent postures. It is another work which was originally conceived to be part of the sculptural commission for the Doors of the Musee des Beaux-Arts, The Gates of Hell.
Sculpture of the mythological figure Danaide, one of the daughters of King Danaos. Her streamline curves and sensuous posture entice and arouse. According to Greek mythology, the Danaides were the fifty daughters of King Danaos of Argos, who was in conflict with his brother Aegyptos, father of fifty sons. The fifty sons went to Argos to propose marriage to the Danaides as a conciliatory gesture towards Danaos. Danaos resented his brother and ordered his daughters to murder their bridegrooms on their wedding night. They proceeded, except all but one. As a result of their crimes, the Danaides were sentenced to the underworld where their unending penance was to fill pierced jugs.