Constantin Brancusi wrote that Auguste Rodin’s Balzac was ‘the incontestable point of departure for modern sculpture’.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century Rodin created a new language of monumental sculpture which inspired his contemporaries, his students and also future generations. His radical approach represented a complete break from the more formal traditions of the previous centuries; he no longer set heroic figures high up on pedestals, choosing instead to depict his subjects with a powerful emotional presence which in turn encouraged the viewer to relate on a more personal level. For the first time, he truly set the subject free within its own space allowing future sculptors to explore even more abstract interpretations of meaning.
This exhibition, on the centenary of Rodin’s death, features a selection of large-scale bronzes backed up by a number of smaller scale sculptures all of which relate to monuments either life size or larger in scale. Works on display by Rodin will be an insightful life-size bust of Victor Hugo, a rare set of the Burghers of Calais captured frozen in emotional turmoil and a final study for the Monument to Balzac – a marvellous depiction of abstract intellectual force. Also on show by Rodin’s ex-studio assistant Bourdelle, will be two preparatory variants of his chef d’œuvre ‘The Archer’. In addition, a series of important life size nudes by Maillol, Bernard and Wlérick will be included.
A small group of earlier works by artists Rodin admired such as Antoine-Louis Barye, Emmanuel Fremiet, Jules Dalou and Alfred Jacquemart will also be on show.
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