Auguste Rodin

François Auguste René Rodin (12 Nov. 1840 – 17 Nov. 1917), known as Auguste Rodin; French sculptor. Although Rodin is generally considered the progenitor of modern sculpture, he did not set out to rebel against the past. He was schooled traditionally, took a craftsman-like approach to his work, and desired academic recognition, although he was never accepted into Paris's foremost school of art.

The son of an inspector in the Paris Préfecture de Police and a former seamstress, Auguste Rodin grew up in a working-class district of Paris known as the Mouffetard. His early instruction was provided by the “Petit École” (the École Impériale Spéciale de Dessin et de Mathématiques), a school for the training of decorative artists, where he acquired a thorough grounding in the traditions of French eighteenth-century art, and by informal studies of anatomical structure under the tutelage of Antoine-Louis Barye, the French Romantic sculptor, best known for his animal subjects. Refused entrance to the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts, Rodin escaped the rigid Neoclassical training that still dominated its curriculum in the mid-1850s, but forfeited the early success that École graduates were ordinarily assured.

....The increasingly erotic character of Rodin’s sculpture in the 1880s can be explained by his preoccupation with two highly charged literary sources. These were Dante’s Inferno and Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil. In Dante’s epic poem, Rodin seems to have been most deeply impressed by those who were damned by the sins of the flesh, while Baudelaire’s poetry is notoriously satanic in nature. Many of Rodin’s later drawings of female figures, both alone and together, are as sexually explicit as they are remarkable for the freedom and spontaneity of their draftsmanship. Often they are the products of the sculptor’s attempt to capture the human form in motion by making...
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