When most people think of the famous sculptor Auguste Rodin, they say “The Thinker.” Or “Le Penseur” if they’re fancy. But when you ask me, I say “The Kiss.” And “The Gates of Hell.” And “The Burghers of Calais.” And “I Am Beautiful.” And … well, you get the picture. So imagine what I have to say after spending one glorious day at the Musée Rodin in Paris.
2017 marks the 100th anniversary of Rodin’s death, and museums all around the world are celebrating the works of this prolific master of marble, bronze and terracotta and the delightful legacy he left behind. 2017 also marks the year this little museum geek traveled across the Atlantic to visit the former home and now current keeper of Rodin’s magnificent library of drawings, prints and sculptures.
But why does my mind conjure up images of “The Kiss” instead of “The Thinker” when I hear Rodin’s name? After all, “The Thinker” is his most famous piece. Well, that’s easy. Blame Cardiff. Years ago, at the ripe old age of 21, I visited the National Museum Cardiff while on spring break (because that’s how English majors roll!). While there, I strolled through the art gallery section of the Amgueddfa Cymru and paused in front of a reproduction of Rodin’s “The Kiss” carved in marble. Words can’t describe my visceral reaction to this work. I must have stared at it for a full 15 minutes, trying to memorize every curve, every dip, every line. Shaking myself from my trance I walked away to view other art pieces throughout the gallery, but I returned to stare at “The Kiss” not once, but twice.
On that day, I learned how truly powerful art can be.
So it should be no surprise that years later, I paid a visit to America’s own slice of Auguste, the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia. For those who can’t make it to the proverbial Mecca in France, the Philly museum is definitely worth every moment of your attention. It was here that I came to marvel at his smaller more intimate pieces like “I Am Beautiful,” “Danaid” and “The Clenched Hand.” But it wasn’t enough for this great art lover.
Some eight years later, I found myself walking through the gardens at Hôtel Biron, falling in love all over again.
Since I can’t fully articulate what it is about Rodin’s work that speaks to me on such a instinctive level, I’ve opted to share the images I captured on that brisk Sunday morning in March. Below, hopefully you can see why I was drawn to his art. And if not, perhaps you’ll enjoy the virtual stroll through the garden and home at Musée Rodin.
Instead of creating a slider gallery or carousel, I thought it best to present the photos one-by-one with a short caption to provide context and identification. As always, feel free to click on the images directly to see a larger version on your screen.