Recently Dale and I went to the Art Institute for a special exhibit of sculptures by Rodin (1840-19170, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his death.
Robert Louis Stevenson called Rodin the “master of visual communication.”
All of Rodin’s sculptures are reproductions of his original clay models. Many of the ones on display were from private collections.
The Hand of God was conceived as the creation of Adam and Eve, which Rodin imagined as an act of sculpting.
Probably Rodin’s most famous sculpture, Rodin suggests the extreme physicality of mental activity, not only in his facial features but in every muscle of his arms, back and legs.
In Despair, Rodin invented a new pose – the figure’s act of stretching out and at the same time folding her body inward is evocative of emotional distress. This is the first example of this work; later plaster casts were taken to reproduce it in bronze.
This vision of two young lovers was one of Rodin’s most popular compositions. Exact examples of it are extremely rare because it was technically difficult to produce. This bronze is the same version of the plaster that Rodin gave to Robert Louis Stevenson. Many later versions were made by adding a support for the male figure’s arms and legs.
Rodin contracted specialist practitioners to carve multiple versions of Eve in marble, but no two are exactly alike. These two examples are among the earliest created; the example in front was produced in pure white marble, while the example on the right (which belongs to the Art Institute’s permanent collection) was made with a deeply veined marble.