Auguste Rodin

The thinker, 1902, by Rodin is one of his most well-known works. The Rodin museum is one of my favourite museums (musea?). Situated near the Invalides, in Rodin’s old house, in the middle of a huge garden by Paris standards, it has long been one of our favourite strolls. The B&W pictures I took in February 1981 with my trusted Asahi-Pentax.

Mirror, mirror, who’s the fairest? The museum had been closed for a few years for renovation. Re-opened in 2016 when the colour photos were taken. With my – now – trusted Iphone.

A very classic Rodin “expression”. His capture/rendering of movement was unique. 1981.

Auguste Rodin (1840-1917). He was 12 when Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte made his “coup” and became Napoléon III. He died in 1917, before the end of WWI, not knowing whether the war would be won. He witnessed dramatic changes in the world. He is now considered the “father” of modern sculpture. I would put Maillol in the same league though.

Portrait of Rose Beuret, by Rodin. (Rose was Rodin’s mistress. Thanks to Gilles Labruyère for the info). As so many artists, Rodin was at ease with a hammer and chisel, or a brush and easel.

Rodin’s house – and museum. 2016. It is quite a beautiful house. And garden.

Mother and child. Rodin’s gardens. 1981. That baby is pushing 40.

Mother and child, Rodin museum. I don’t think this is Rodin’s work. Too academic. Looks more like a late 19th century government commission. “Mother teaching her child to read” or something like that.

“Who’s the prettiest baby in the world?” Even in February, the garden is often used by young parents to take their children out in a pram. (Or stroller?).

Young girl by Rodin.

Eustache de Saint-Pierre, one of the six “Bourgeois” of Calais. During the 100 years war, the English put the city of Calais under siege in 1346. After nearly a year, the city begged to surrender. Edward III, the English King, asked for six men to be delivered to him to be executed. Burghers. One would now say “middle class”. Eustache de Saint-Pierre volunteered first, followed by other five. Their death was the condition to spare the lives of all inhabitants of the city.

The six men came out of the city, in “chemise” (robe) barefoot, with a rope around their neck to be hanged, carrying the keys of the city and the castle. Walking bravely to certain death.

Philippa de Hainaut, the Queen consort, interceded in favour of the six burghers.

Study of one of the six burghers. Edward III, at Philippa’s request, granted their life to the six men.

The burghers were saved. Calais, as much of France, remained under English rule from 1346 until 1558. Today, Calais is the focus point of hundreds, even thousands of migrants who want to cross the Channel to the UK. Her Majesty’s Government pays the French government millions of Euros a year, to keep the migrants on French soil.

“Les bourgeois de Calais” is considered one of Rodin’s masterpieces.

To be continued…

118 thoughts on “Auguste Rodin

  1. I enjoy your recounting history through art. As a descendent of the Plantegenet’s, the intertwined history of Scandinavia, France, and England are fascinating to me although still controversial depending on one’s view of the rule of kings.

    • Ever since the Romans invaded Gaul, Britain and “Germany”, Europe has been in constant “civi war”. Those English kings who took over half of France were Normands, descendants of Vikings and spoke probably better French that English. Walter Scott does a brilliant “demo” in Ivanhoe with the vocabulary for meat on the table or on the field. Beef vs. Ox for instance.
      So yes, Calais is a good example of a contact point…
      Hope all is well?

      • Yes, my early ancestry is Norwegian and the Family married into the Plantagenet family. Elizabeth Woodville was the sister of my forefather and after marriage to Edward IV, our cousins read like a who’s who of English royalty. We served the Houses of York, Lancaster, and Tudor and that did not win us friends among the warring Houses. Those were rough times indeed. When the tide turned against us we made our way to America as part financiers of the Jamestown Colony in Virginia and later the colony in Maryland. Today, we are quiet and unassuming stewards of a long and well documented bloody history of Europe and America.

      • Thank you for your interest, my friend. So few people spare the time to make a connection to family and history. But, for me, the art you share and the provenance that goes with each creation tells us much about ourselves and what we are capable of, good and bad.

      • My one and only trip to Paris was with the high school French Club in 1972; there was tear gas involved. Thank you for the Thanksgiving wishes. My husband will be cooking the meal for the two of us.

      • ’72 eh? We might have crossed path. If you mention teargas, we may have crossed path. I was a student in the latin quarter from 70 to 72. Then moved to Lyon. But during those 2 years there was a lot of heavily geared cops in the streets, to prevent a remake of May 68. As a long-haired student I always carried ID, since I was controlled and frisked about every 2 weeks… 🤣
        When and where did you go?

      • LOL. I can imagine the crappy hotel. French hotels have been notoriously crappy for centuries. We may have crossed path indeed. The student quarter is very likely the Latin Quarter. Saint-Michel, Saint-Germain, la Sorbonne. The Seine. I was studying in the oldest school in Paris, Collège Sainte-Barbe. Lots of illustrious alumni. But not that good when I was there. It’s been shut down as a school, and is now a research library. near the Panthéon.
        When you came, I was cramming like mad for six weks of competitive exams to enter a French business school. Hard, but good training in terms of workload.
        What did you visit? And for how long?

      • We were there for a week. I refused to visit the Eiffel Tower because I didn’t want to act like a tourist. (Yes, I was THAT sixteen-year-old.) We visited Versailles (short beds, miles of hallways, something about the king’s dinner), Notre Dame (beautiful windows, but too big for a church), the Louvre (refused to look at the Mona Lisa beacause I didn’t want to act like a tourist) and Mont Saint Michel (now, that DID impress me). I think those are the highlights of the trip, aside from going to the wrong room in the crappy hotel on the first day and being mistaken for a prostitute.

      • LOL. A busy week. I concur on the Eiffel tower. I’d never gone there until foreign friends visited us. Versailles is god. (There were no toilets. Valets with pots circulated among nobility in the hallways.
        Mont-Saint-Michel is beautiful. Need to go back. Sans tourists. And to this day I haven’t gone up the Arc de Triomphe… I go to the Louvre every 3-4 years. NEVER go to Mona Lisa…
        Have a nice week Liz.

      • So I wasn’t just being a contrary teenager! I loved Mont Saint-Michel. There was one area at the top when I stepped onto the grass that I felt as if I could touch Heaven. I can still see it in my mind.

  2. L’éducation maternelle est une sculpture d’Eugène Delaplanche, 1875. Là, on voit que Rodin est très en avance sur certains de ses contemporains.
    Le jeune homme est Rose Beuret, sa compagne ! 1860-1865
    Dommage que Camille Claudel soit passée par là …
    Merci et une belle journée à toi, Brieuc.

    • Super. Merci des compléments Gilles. Du coup, le charmant buste que vais poster après (qui m’a toujours plu) est de Rose Beuret… Hmmm.
      Oui. Camille. Dommage…
      Bonne soirée.

  3. I’ve visited this museum within the last five years. Possibly 2016? I was fascinated with Rodin’s sculpture and the story of the burghers, which I had never heard. Thanks for reminding me of that awesome visit. I vaguely recall that his house was at one time a school for girls. Does that ring bell? Might explain the statue of the woman reading to the girl.

    • I’m so glad you visited. it is a great place. Don’t know whether it was a girls school. I’ll look it up next time. That might explain the statue.
      The story of the Burghers stands out in French History. As you know we are or were, great history buffs.
      Hope all is well with you Carol?
      Tout va bien?

  4. Love this one. Is the Thinker in the first photo an original do you think or a fake put outside so no one would harm it? There are some Rodins in San Francisco in the museum on the hill (the name escapes me) which naively I always thought were real originals. But, I believe many are just fakes because they are outside. Not to mention I feel like I have seen several of them around the world. lol. I wonder where the real original is? (Legion of Honor…that’s the museum on the hill. Magnificent view.)

  5. Edward started young and did very well, but ended not so well. If he hadn’t started the Hundred Years’ War … but then, that was the economic rationale or road to great power. Historians say he was a just man, but the evidence points to his wife’s influence as moderator. I guess, if it hadn’t been Edward it would have been someone else. Land, status, power, simple really.

  6. I love it there. The Garden is so wonderful. I admit I liked the museum better the first time, before so much was put behind glass, but it’s a wonderful place and I would go there again and again. As I said, the garden is so special and on a nice day, to just sit there for a little while is such a treat. 🙂 This was a lovely post and I enjoyed it so much. Thank you.

    • So you have gone! great. Though I do agree that there is too much glass now. (Too many reflections) But then I guess it is also meant for the protection of the works…
      Glad you enjoyed the visit. Cheers.

  7. Dont have any views about the trusted iPhone, but your black n white images created some world within them. The portraits are so vibrant.

    Also how the essay ends, tells me something about the life cycle; history will make sure they pay well till they cant pay no more. May be 🙂 Thanks for this stroll.

  8. Delightful virtual visit, mon ami. I’ve never been to the Musée Rodin on my visits to Paris. I’ve wanted to go there, as well as the Musée Gustave Moreau, but there wasn’t time. Your post makes me remember the film “Camille Claudel”. With Isabelle Adjani and Gerard Depardieu. Inoubliable…
    Je te souhaite un très agréable weekend, cher Brian. Bises.

    • Moreau is fantastic too. Plus it was Poussiéreux à souhait. As if they hadn’t dusted since Moreau’s death. A grand museum I plan to go back to.
      Bon week-end à toi aussi. Bises. 💕

  9. Hi Brian, your tour was awesome, as usual 😉 Why did you hijack Camille?
    Her story really touched me. While he was great with his shissel, he really wasn’t great to the ladies …

    • “Hijack”? I guess I “evaded” the topic. It is a very sad story, where Rodin was part of the problem, but then Camille was psychotic, and her own family had her committed. I think Rodin later tried to get her out, but couldn’t, her family had the last word… I guess I didn’t want to “get into” it. But I have made a mental note, and now know more or less where Camille’s work is at the museum. I will look her up next time I go… 😀
      Most museums I go back to every 3-4 years if I can… Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  10. Pingback: Auguste Rodin – S.P.B.

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