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Rodin: In His Own Words

Whatcom Museum of History and Art
Bellingham WA – through Dec 10

Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), The Thinker

Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), The Thinker (modelled 1880, reduced in 1903, cast about 1931), bronze [Whatcom Museum of History and Art, Bellingham WA, through Dec 10]

The French artist Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) is credited with bringing sculpture to the level of modernism by moving away from the classic academic approach of the 18th and 19th centuries. In his time, Rodin was considered to be the greatest sculptor since Michelangelo.

Rodin: In His Own Words showcases over thirty bronzes and pairs individual sculptures with philosophical quotes by Rodin. It includes original letters written by the artist as well as, a number of works on paper and details about his process of lost-wax casting.

The pieces in this travelling exhibition are drawn from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, the largest private holding of Rodin’s work.

His most famous sculpture, The Thinker, from his monumental Gates of Hell epic, is a key feature of the exhibit.

Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), Spirit of War

Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), Spirit of War (c. 1883), bronze [Whatcom Museum of History and Art, Bellingham WA, through Dec 10]

Rodin’s sculpture is distinguished historically by the dramatic contours of his figures and a lifelike sense of movement. He conveys complex emotions through facial lines, gestures and expressive poses. As well, Rodin did not always give his subjects pristine smooth skin or idealized features.

Rather, his works often have rough modeled surfaces that reveal the raw artistic process and allow light to reflect off the crevices and nuances of the bronze material.

He appears to have been more interested in emphasizing the fundamental spirit of humanity, its strength and realism, its morality, distress, weaknesses, passions and beauty. It was Rodin’s ardour and dedication to vitality in life that made his work so genuine, innovative and moving.

www.whatcommuseum.org

Allyn Cantor

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