Friday, June 30, 2006 06/30/06-Auguste Rodin

In today's excerpt, the French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917):

"In Rodin, France produced a sculptor of outstanding quality and importance. But he stood alone...

"He was more vehemently for the past than other sculptors but did not limit his enthusiasm to the classical tradition, taking a passionate interest in Gothic art and seeing Michelangelo as 'the culmination of all Gothic thought.' All his work was concerned with the human figure. He had the original idea (inspired by classical remains) of making truncated figures, limbless and/or headless torsos, which were thought in his day to reveal a streak of sadism (as perhaps they do), but have the important effect of lifting sculpture out of the range of normal subject-matter into a sphere where its abstract qualities of line, mass and tension dominate the responses it evokes.

"Rodin, who admired and encouraged Degas as a sculptor, went far beyond him in search of the unposed pose...Rodin planned for deviations. His models moved around him and he captured in swift line-and-wash sketches those momentary dispositions that seemed to him expressive. Thus, like Michelangelo, he found in artistically unprecedented movements a whole world of expressive form that seemed to him at one with nature at large: 'A woman, a mountain or a horse are formed according to the same principles.'"

To view works at the Rodin Museum in Paris, click here:

Musee Rodin
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Myers and Copplestone, General Editors, The History of Art, Dorset, 1990, pp. 819-820


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