(1840-1917). The French artist Auguste Rodin had a profound
influence on 20th-century sculpture. His works are distinguished by their
stunning strength and realism. Rodin refused to ignore the negative aspects
of humanity, and his works confront distress and moral weakness as well as
passion and beauty.
Francois-Auguste-Rene Rodin was born on Nov. 12, 1840, in Paris. At the
age of 14 he entered the Petite Ecole, a school of decorative arts in Paris.
He applied three times to study at the renowned Ecole des Beaux-Arts but was
rejected each time. In 1858 he began to do decorative stonework in order to
make his living. Four years later the death of his sister Marie so
traumatized Rodin that he entered a sacred order.
The father superior of the order recognized Rodin's talents and encouraged
him to pursue his art. In 1864 Rodin met a seamstress named Rose Beuret. She
became his life companion and was the model for many of his works. That year
Rodin submitted his
Man with a Broken Nose
to the Paris Salon. It was rejected but later accepted under the title
Portrait of a Roman.
Rodin traveled in 1875 to Italy, where the works of Michelangelo made a strong
impression on him. The trip inspired his sculpture
The Age of Bronze,
was exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1877. It caused a scandal because the
critics could not believe that Rodin had not used a casting of a live model
in creating so realistic a work.
The controversy brought Rodin more fame than praise might have. In 1880 he
was commissioned to create a bronze door for the future Museum of Decorative
Arts. Although the work was unfinished at the time of his death, it provided
the basis for some of Rodin's most influential and powerful work. In 1884 he
was commissioned to create a monument that became
The Burghers of Calais.
St. John the Baptist Preaching,
The Age of Bronze, and
are world famous. Rodin died on Nov. 17, 1917, and was buried
When Rodin was 76 years old he gave the French government the entire
collection of his own works and other art objects he had acquired. They
occupy the Hotel Biron in Paris as the Musee Rodin and are still placed as
Rodin set them.