Monday, February 26, 2018

Auguste Rodin (by Lizzie Devitt)

"To the artist there is never anything ugly in nature"

Meet the Artist
Auguste Rodin was born on November 12, 1840 to a middle-class family in Paris, France and starting at the age of 14, he attended Petite Ecole to study drawing. Throughout his entire life, Rodin expressed great reverence for his drawing teacher at school and what he learned there.  After much rejection and frustration, likely due to his controversial naturalist style, Rodin briefly gave up sculpture to join the Catholic order. The founder of his order, Saint Peter Julian Eymard, recognized Rodin's true talent and encouraged him to continue with his art. In 1875, Rodin took a trip to Italy and was inspired by the works of Michelangelo and Donatello, which drastically impacted his artistic style. After this trip, Rodin went on to create some of his most famous works, for instance The Age of Bronze, which is pictured below.  Today, Rodin is considered one of the greatest sculptors of all time and is often credited with the revolution of traditional classical sculpture.

Asarte, after the Dancer Alda Moreno

Dance Movement B

Rodin's Artistic Perspective
Rodin's style is often referred to as naturalism. In reference to two of his works above, he successfully communicates body movements through still art. One of the most notable things about Rodin at the time was that he allowed his subjects to pose naturally, as opposed to having them hold stiff and uncomfortable positions for long periods of time.  As a result, his artistic expression has a very realistic quality.  Rodin's art is also said to have distinctive features reminiscent of the realism an impressionist movements at the time.

The Age of Bronze (1876)

His Technique
While Rodin did use a wide variety of mediums throughout his career, he is most famous for using clay to make bronze sculptures (see The Age of Bronze above).  Once finished the sculpting, he would place the clay figure in a plaster mold, and then would fill the mold with bronze to create a solid bronze sculpture. Rodin's end products often feature rough, unrefined surfaces that convey his subject's natural characteristics. To highlight his raw, naturalistic style, he once said, "I choose a block of marble and chop off whatever I don't need".

The Kiss (1882)
Why I Chose Rodin
A French book, La Lumiere de l'antique, with "Rodin" written boldly on the front cover caught my eye in the library. I am familiar with Rodin from an Art History course I took in high school and two summers ago, I visited an art museum in San Francisco that had an exhibit featuring Rodin's "The Thinker".  I have always been especially captivated by Rodin's sculptures because they look so alive and fluid. Despite the fact that this art book was written in French, Rodin's works transcended any descriptions of them.  I found Rodin's sketches interesting because it gave me insight to how a sculptor might approach drawing differently than a different type of artist. One of the things I like most about Rodin is his exceptional ability to capture movement in both his sculptures and drawings. The Kiss is probably my favorite of Rodin's works because it is so natural it looks like two people were caught still and turned to stone. There is something breathtaking about the sculpture and I think a lot of that has to do with Rodin's realistic composition that captures raw emotion and body language.

Works Cited

Rodin, Auguste. La Lumiere de l'antique. Gallimard, 2013. Print.

The Art Story. Auguste Rodin.

Musee Rodin

Rodin Museum

All images on this post are from the third citation

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