Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)

Sculptor Auguste Rodin is credited with single-handedly rescuing sculpture from a moribund state and making it once more a vehicle for intense personal expression. Although he did not set out to rebel against the establishment, after being educated at Paris cole des Beux-Arts his work began to take complex, deep-pocketed forms, and Rodin soon became the most preeminent French sculptor of his time. Today his sculptures, such as Danaid and Study of the Human Face are prime examples of the naturalism movement.

Auguste Rodin was born in 1840 to a working-class Parisian family. He began teaching himself to draw at age ten, but after being denied entrance into the prestigious art schools, let his art decline. After briefly joining a Christian Order, Rodin was encouraged to rediscover his passion for sculpting. Rodin worked for years as an ornamental mason before establishing his reputation with his most famous work, The Thinker. This piece caused a sensation because Rodin s naturalistic treatment of the naked figure was so radically different from the contemporary idealizing conventions in sculpture.

Apart from the many monumental sculptures that Rodin produced during the course of his long and distinguished career, Rodin was prolific graphic artist, producing expressive and sometimes overtly erotic images. Rodin s sculptures modeled the human body in extreme realism and celebrated physicality. Many Rodin sculptures were criticized during his lifetime and although Rodin acknowledged this fact, he refused to compromise his style and form, and his successive works eventually gained favor from the government and art community.

By 1900, Auguste Rodin was a world-renowned sculptor. Although he is famous for his sculptures, Rodin also produced oil painting, chalk and charcoal drawings, and drypoints. His works are considered to be symbols of human emotion and character, and since his death in 1917, Rodin s ability to find beauty and pathos in ordinary men and women have made him the most important sculptor of the modern era.

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The Cathedral Statue
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Study of the Human Face Bronze Mask
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The Bronze Age Statue 1877
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Rodin's "Danaid" Bonded Marble Statue
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