Impressive Facts About Auguste Rodin

Auguste Rodin (François-Auguste-René Rodin) will always be synonymous with The Thinker, which is a pensive sculpture hunched over and haunted by his own thoughts. Although this is just one of the structures that propelled his impressive career.

Rodin was born in Paris in 1840. He died in Meudon (which is near Paris) in 1917. Rodin is deemed to be one of the best sculptors of his time. He is one of the first artists of his time to emancipate themselves from the strict codes of antiquity-style neo-classic sculpture. Therefore, Rodin is one of the forefathers of modern sculpture.

Raised in a middle-class background, Rodin was noticed early by his parents to be artistically gifted. They registered him, at the age of 14, in a drawing school. This triggered his vocation. At 17, he tried to enter the École des Beaux-Arts, however he failed the competitive examinations three times. The following year (which was 1858), he made the decision to earn his living by doing decorative stonework.

Rodin Is Considered To Be An Impressionist Sculptor

Although colour does not factor significantly in his work, Rodin’s interest in the effect of light on sculpted surfaces. The experimental nature of his methods exposes the extent to which Impressionism influenced his sculpture.


Rodin made key innovations in capturing the moving body in sculpted format. He notably had his models move around him while he was working with preliminary clay studies.

Gates Of Hell

Rodin worked on the Gates of Hell doors for 20 years. This artwork is a nearly 21-foot-high structure which is covered in writhing, tormented bodies who are condemned to Hell. The wide-ranging levels of relief, the mingling of bodies as well as the areas of uncovered ground generate a dizzying and overwhelming effect on the viewer of the piece. The top of the doors incorporates a miniature version of his famous Thinker, which is peering over the tormented scene below.

Rodin showed the Gates of Hell at the Exposition Universelle in 1900, which is 17 years before their official “completion.” The addition of the work triggered debate surrounding the academic “finish” of a work of art, which Rodin loathed as an outdated imposition.

Rodin Fell In Love With One Of His Fellow Sculptors, Camille Claudel

Although Rose Beuret would forever be the love of his life, Rodin was momentarily entangled in a romance with a 19-year-old student in his sculpture class, Camille Claudel. Camille was also an incredible sculptor, and they strongly influenced each other’s works. Most notably, she was the first model for his sculpture The Kiss.

Moving Into A Creative Hotel

In the early part of the 1900s, Rodin moved into Hotel Biron and transformed part of the ground floor into his studio. The hotel drew an artistically rich clientele. Henri Matisse, Jean Cocteau as well as dancer Isadora Duncan became Rodin’s neighbours. When the hotel was due to be demolished, Rodin saved the building by willing his estate to the French Government and after he died it was transformed into the Rodin Museum in his honour.

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