Auguste Rodin

Auguste Rodin

Auguste Rodin (born François-Auguste-René Rodin; November 12, 1840–November 17, 1917) was a French artist, most famous as a sculptor. He was the preeminent French sculptor of his time, and remains one of the few sculptors widely recognized outside the visual arts community.

Although Rodin is generally considered the progenitor of modern sculpture, [Tucker, 16.] he did not set out to rebel against the past. He was schooled traditionally, took a craftsman-like approach to his work, and desired academic recognition,Hale, 76.] although he was never accepted into Paris's foremost school of art. Sculpturally, he possessed a unique ability to model a complex, turbulent, deeply pocketed surface in clay.

Many of Rodin's most notable sculptures were roundly criticized during his lifetime. They clashed with the predominant figure sculpture tradition, in which works were decorative, formulaic, or highly thematic. Rodin's most original work departed from traditional themes of mythology and allegory, modeled the human body with realism, and celebrated individual character and physicality. Rodin was sensitive to the controversy about his work, but did not change his style, and successive works brought increasing favor from the government and the artistic community.

From the unexpected realism of his first major figure—inspired by his 1875 trip to Italy—to the unconventional memorials whose commissions he later sought, Rodin's reputation grew. By 1900, he was a world-renowned artist. Wealthy private clients sought Rodin's work after his World's Fair exhibit, and he kept company with a variety of high-profile intellectuals and artists. He married his life-long companion, Rose Beuret, in the last year of both their lives. His sculpture suffered a decline in popularity after his death in 1917, but within a few decades his legacy solidified.



Formative years

Rodin was born in 1840 into a working-class family in Paris, the second child of Marie Cheffer and Jean-Baptiste Rodin, who was a police department clerk. He was largely self-educated, ["(François) Auguste (René) Rodin." "International Dictionary of Art and Artists". St. James Press, 1990. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale. 2006.] and began to draw at ten. Between ages 14 and 17, Rodin attended the "Petite École", a school specializing in art and mathematics, where he studied drawing and painting . His drawing teacher, Horace Lecoq de Boisbaudran, believed in first developing the personality of his students such that they observed with their own eyes and drew from their recollections. Rodin still expressed appreciation for his teacher much later in life. [Jianou & Goldscheider, 31.]

Rodin submitted a clay model of a companion to the "Grand École" in 1857 in an attempt to win entrance; he did not succeed, and two further applications were also denied. Given that entrance requirements at the "Grand École" were not particularly high, [Hale, 40.] the rejections were considerable setbacks. Rodin's inability to gain entrance may have been due to the judges' Neoclassical tastes, while Rodin had been schooled in light, eighteenth-century sculpture. Leaving the "Petite École" in 1857, Rodin would earn a living as a craftsman and ornamenter for most of the next two decades, producing decorative objects and architectural embellishments.

Rodin's sister Maria, two years his senior, died of peritonitis in a convent in 1862. Her brother was anguished, and felt guilty because he had introduced Maria to an unfaithful suitor. Turning away from art, Rodin briefly joined a Catholic order. Father Peter Julian Eymard recognized Rodin's talent and, sensing his lack of suitability for the order, encouraged Rodin to continue with his sculpture. He returned to work as a decorator, while taking classes with animal sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye. The teacher's attention to detail—his finely rendered musculature of animals in motion—significantly influenced Rodin.

External links

* [ Musée Rodin, Paris]
* [ Rodin Museum, Philadelphia]
* [ A 26min film about Auguste Rodin and the Gates of Hell]
* [ Views of the Musée Rodin]
* [ Academic site on Rodin]
* [ Auguste Rodin: The Burghers of Calais] - Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000
* cite web |publisher= Victoria and Albert Museum
title= Rodin at the V&A
accessdate= 2007-09-01

NAME = Rodin, Auguste
ALTERNATIVE NAMES = Rodin, François-Auguste-René
SHORT DESCRIPTION = French sculptor author of The Thinker and The Kiss
DATE OF BIRTH = November 12, 1840
PLACE OF BIRTH = Paris, France
DATE OF DEATH = November 1, 1917
PLACE OF DEATH = Meudon, France

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