… otifs of the Renaissance masters, but a highlypersonal, intoxicating memory of what it was liketo experience great art” (Lampert 12-13). Early onin the year of 1877, Rodin was accused of being animposter.
The Salon claimed that he had taken astatue and just molded right over it with newmaterial. When Rodin found out what he was beingaccused of, he rushed to the press and hadpictures taken to prove that he was not animposter, and to prove that the sculpture was notexactly like the human body. Finally, the Salonconcluded that it was not the same thing and Rodinsaid, “I have learned how to use it [bronzecasting].” Rodin returned to Paris in late1877,when a death occurred in the family.Rodin hadlost his mother, and now his father had gone blindand was beginning to turn senile. If that were notenough, his son, from his common-law wife Rose(who had returned), was almost completelyretarded.
Some say that it is possible that hesuffered a head injury when he fell from atwo-story window as a young baby. Even though hisson was dying, Rodin attempted to give his sondrawing lessons, but his son appeared to ignorehim. Throughout Auguste Rodin’s work, one can seethe similarities between his work andMichelangelo’s work. One can assume that after oneman studies another great man, traits and ideaswill shine through the artists’ work.The Age ofBronze resembles Michelangelo’s Dying Slave by theposture that the two statues share. The two menare twisted in the same fashion, as if they are”frozen” and sculpted just as the artist saw them.One leg of each statue has its knee bent, bothheads are looking forward, and the arm is raisedin the air.
“But there the similarity ends. TheSlave is wearing sinking; Rodin’s youth seems onthe point of awakening, soon to stride forth withfresh energy” (Hale 51). Rodin’s Crouching Womanresembles many characteristics from Michelangelo’sCrouching Youth. The Crouching Woman, createdbetween 1880-1882, looks as if she has eternalsuffering.This is given away by the way her kneesare bent, implying that she may be helpless, shewants to be pitied, or she is tired. Without theway the figure is positioned, from firstimpression, she looks like she is a tribal womanor a woman who works hard and is ready to give in.
“The tribal woman, uncontaminated by conventionalsense of property but not necessarily virginal.Rodin may have been tempted for years to place amodel in the pose of Michelangelo’s CrouchingYouth” (Lampert 57-61). Lastly, squeezing of thebreast “suggests that she gave birth and isnursing a child”(Lampert 205). The similaritiesbetween the two statues is easier to see than thedifferences. Both figures heads are tilted thesame way.
Both knees are bent and intertwined withher own arms; while one hand holds one foot.Bothwomen have clear muscle definition, but the facialexpression is just like the muscle definition,obvious that there are no emotions to show.Lastly, both sculptures are left in anun-sculptured stone for a base. Two of Rodin’ssculptures resemble many of Michelangelo’s pieces;Rodin’s Vase des Titans, resembles Michelangelo’sIgundi, Night and Day. The figures of the vase arepositioned in the same way as well as posed in thesame fashion. The man-like figures have the samemuscle contortions that show a sense of musclestrain, just like the men in Michelangelo’s work.”Rodin made a four seated Titans each measuringonly 30cm, their back bent to support a jardinierebowl.
The poses are taken in essence from thecontrapuntal figures of Michelangelo’s Igundi andhis Night and Day” (Lampert 18). The sculpture ofthe Reclining Titans resembles the same works ofMichelangelo, the Igundi, which is on the SistineChapel ceiling.Both sets of men have a sexualappeal because of the way that their legs aretogether and then apart. Once again,Michelangelo’s work can be seen in Rodin’s Faunand Child.
The Faun and Child was designed inDecember 1882, and is almost a replica ofMichelangelo’s sketch of the prophet Jechonius.Both adult figures have their heads looking back,as if both guardian and child are in danger.Secondly, the guardian is holding the child withhis/her left arm. Lastly, it seems as though thechildren are either reaching or looking atsomething that they yearn for. There is not muchinformation about how Michelangelo influencedRodin’s work of the Bibi bust; which soon was thehead for The Man with the Broken Nose. “Rodinseems to be haunted by the Michelangelo when heproduced the bust of Bibi as a kind of allegory ofthe endurance of mankind” (Hale 43).
Lastly, TheThree Shadows is one that I find very interesting.One says: “the influence of Michelangelo onRodin’s Adam is clear enough: not only is thecontortion familiar but so too is the gesture ofthe right hand with pointing finger. The Shade, avariation of Adam, is considerably more original:the left arm hangs clear of the body, the spinebecomes a deep groove and the neck is bent soradically that it forms a straight line with theshoulder giving the subject more of the denaturedpresence of the Shades who appeared in the tinydrawings” (Lampert 205-206). Rodin was a verytalented artist, sculptor, and thinker.
He wasable to make people see things the way that he sawthem, and even though it was tough gettingstarted, he prevailed and was able to livehappily; considering what a hard life he had.Rodin died in November 1917 and his common-lawwife, Rose, died in February of 1917. Rodin diedwith having completed over 400 sculptures and7,000 drawings. Finally, two of Rodin’s mostfamous pieces of work were finally shown in theSalon in 1878, The Man with the Broken Nose andthe Age of Bronze.Bibliography: Cunningham,Lawrence and John Reich.
Culture and Values: ASurvey of the Western Humanities. Vol. 2, 4thEdition. Forth Worth: Harcourt Brace CollegePublishers, 1998.
Hale, William Harlan and theEditors of Time-Life Books.The World of Rodin:1840-1917. Virginia: Time-Life Books, 1978.Lampert, Catherine.
Rodin: Sculpture and Drawings.Hong Kong: Kwong Fat Offset Printing Co. Ltd.,1986..