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Rodin Museum

Travel Article #3

BY Lucy Berry | PUBLISHED September 24, 2021

The Rodin Museum, dating back to 1919, is primarily dedicated to Auguste Rodin’s artwork. The Hotel Biron grounds are beautiful, with the lushest greenery and wide sidewalks

that lead visitors to the mansion-like building. To capture the old-style feel the structure is complete with tower endcaps and long, oval-shaped windows. The property features an

incredible garden that houses some of Rodin’s most notable art pieces, such as The Gates of Hell and The Thinker.

Auguste Rodin was born in Paris on November 12, 1840. His most famous work didn’t come until he was forty. During his forties until the end of his life in 1917, he worked on his

sculpture, The Gates of Hell, which resides in the gardens of the Rodin Museum. Like most artists, he didn’t have the easiest start to his career. While pursuing his love for crafting

sculptures, he received multiple rejections in the early years.

Finally, after many years of hardship, the Salon in Paris accepted his original piece, The Age of Bronze, in 1877.

Although this isn’t one of his well-known sculptures, this is the sculpture that broke ground in his budding art career. Three years later, the Museum of Decorative Art commissioned him to create his most famous bronze door sculpture, The Gates of Hell. Even though this piece wasn’t finished at the time of his passing, the sculpture inspired many other pieces, including his most famous one, The Thinker.

Despite his slow rise to fame, critics consider Rodin one of the greatest portraitists in the history of sculpture because he dabbled in bronze and marble figures during his lifetime. One of his most popular sculptures includes The Thinker, which appears in Ben Stiller’s movie, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. This is how I first heard of his sculpture. My prior knowledge of The Thinker led me down a research rabbit hole. The Thinker and a few other sculptures were once just small sculptures on a bronze door called The Gates of Hell, which showcases two hundred figures. The massive bronze door was inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy, a poem about Hell.

As a poet, I find that The Thinker and The Gates of Hell sculptures truly speak to the notion that artists are inspired by each other and different art forms. Divine Comedy is a terrifying poem that provokes creativity and self-reflection. The Thinker, a man deep in thought, represents the biggest part of Rodin’s inspiration by breaking the fourth wall. The piece directly speaks to the audience. Before donning the popular name of The Thinker, Rodin originally called his bronze masterpiece The Poet.

Not only did he include elements from the circles of Hell, but Rodin also incorporated the man himself, the poet and author, Dante. He showcased Dante looking over the mayhem while also meditating on his thoughts and work at hand through his poetry. Poetry is a way to escape one’s problems, but Dante uses the art form to face his fears. Rodin was able to create a sculpture that begs the viewers to face his or her own fears.

The Rodin Museum offers unique sculptures and captivating history. Walking through an artist’s lifetime showcase is unlike any other experience in this world. To see what they created drives me to be a better writer. Creating is a part of who I am, so seeing what the greats created gives me a new perception of my craft. Every art form is important. We can inspire each other daily through our individual creative ideas, just like Dante’s poem inspired Rodin’s sculpture.

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