Auguste Rodin

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Auguste Rodin

French Realist painter, draftsman, sculptor and writer

Born 11/12/1840 - Died 11/17/1917

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RODIN, AUGUSTE (1840-1917), French sculptor, born François-Auguste-René Rodin in 1840, in Paris, and at an early age displayed a taste for his art. He began by attending Barye's classes, but did not yield too completely to his influence. From 1864 to 1870, under pressure of necessity, he was employed in the studio of Carrier-Belleuse, where he learnt to deal with the mechanical difficulties of a sculptor. Even so early as 1864 his individuality was manifested in his Man with a Broken Nose. After the war, finding nothing to do in Paris, Rodin went to Brussels, where from 1871 to 1877 he worked, as the colleague of the Belgian artist Van Rasbourg, on the sculpture for the outside and the caryatides for the interior of the Bourse, besides exhibiting in 1875 a Portrait of Garnier. In 1877 he contributed to the Salon The Bronze Age, which was seen again, cast in bronze, at the Salon of 1880, when it took a third-class medal, was purchased by the State, and is now in the museum of the Luxembourg. Between 1882 and 1885 he sent to the Salons busts of Jean-Paul Laurens and Carrier-Belleuse (1882), Victor Hugo and Dalou (1884), and Antonin Proust (1885). From about this time he chiefly devoted himself to a great decorative composition six metres high, which was not finished for twenty years. This is the Gates of Hell, the most elaborate perhaps of all Rodin's works, executed to order for the Musée des arts décoratifs. It is inspired mainly by Dante's Inferno, the poet himself being seated at the top, while at his feet, in under-cut relief, we see the writhing crowd of the damned, torn by the frenzy of passion and the anguish of despair. The lower part consists of two bas-reliefs, in their midst two masks of tormented faces. Round these run figures of women and centaurs. Above the door three men cling to each other in an attitude - of despair. After beginning this titanic undertaking, and while continuing to work on it, Rodin executed for the town of Damvillers a statue of Bastien-Lepage ; for Nancy a Monument to Claude le Lorrain, representing the Chariot of the Sun drawn by horses; and for Calais The Burgesses of Calais surrendering the keys of the town and imploring mercy. In this, Rodin, throwing over all school tradition, represents the citizens not as grouped on a square or circular plinth, but walking in file. This work was exhibited at the Petit Gallery in 1889. At the time of the secession of the National Society of Fine Arts, or New Salon, in 1890, Rodin withdrew from the old Society of French Artists, and exhibited in the New Salon the bust of his friend Puvis de Chavannes (1892), Contemplation and a Caryatid, both in marble, and the Monument to Victor Hugo (1897), intended for the gardens of the Luxembourg.

Auguste Rodin died and was interred in Meudon, Île-de-France, France on November 17, 1917.

Source: Entries on the artist in the 1911 Edition Encyclopedia and the Wikipedia.


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Image courtesy of Don Kurtz

Image courtesy of Don Kurtz

Image courtesy of Don Kurtz

Image courtesy of Don Kurtz