French sculptor, born 1840, died 1917. Most likely the most influential sculptor of his century, much like Picasso for painting in the 20th century. He was self-taught and was lucky to enjoy much of his success during his own lifetime. Relatively early on in his career, he was commissioned to make the bronze doors for a new Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. The doors, named The Gates of Hell, were based on material he gleaned from reading Dante and Baudelaire. Towards the peak of his fame, he shared an exhibition with Claude Monet. His last public exhibition was a "Musee Rodin" opened in 1901.

When I went to the "Musee Rodin" in Paris I realized how incredibly moving sculpture can be. I have always appreciated art including all forms of it...but to be truly impassioned by something is the mark of an artist. Rodin is an artist. He knows his craft, is able to use it. Often artists are either wonderful with their technique or have good ideas but to truly combine the two...Rodin is able to express love in ways that words cannot come close to. The Hand of God is incredible. A man and a woman entangled cupped in a giant hand. Parts are unfinished, using Michelangello's technique of what to 'free' from the marble and what to leave alone. His The Thinker is famous, but not anywhere close to his best. The Gates of Hell were a collection piece; almost a summary of his life works and include so many dimensions. One of my favourites, has to be one of the simplest, though; the Danaide. It is of a woman crouched into a ball with her back showing. Her hair falling fluidly (he is able to create fluidity from marble) around her head and her back her perfection. Where her skin folds, her bones protrude, her spine bends: I half-expected her to sit up. He was able to convey so many feelings through his works. That's what made him "Rodin."

Rodin, Auguste, a French sculptor; born in 1840; considered the most virile of modern masters.


Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.

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