Auguste Rodin is the father of the modern sculpture and the most influential sculptor of the 19th century. Rodin had an epiphany concerning his art after seeing the art of Michelangelo during a visit to Italy in 1876. Rodin later told one of his star pupils, Antoine Bourdelle, “It was Michelangelo who liberated me from academism.”
In his later work, Michelangelo distorted the human anatomy for expressive ends. Rodin drew inspiration from this way of expression and abandoned his typical polish of the classic tradition of in favor of raw surface that retained the impact of his own hands.
Rodin quickly developed a unique approach through to the representation of the emotional state through the human body. Most often, he distilled the emotional essence of a sculpture from a textual source like Greek mythology, the Bible, or most notably Dante’s Inferno from which his celebrated The Gates of Hell derived and his most renowned sculpture The Thinker originated. These pieces represented the nude body in entirely original and often shocking poses. Rodin’s employment of the human form and the use of standard materials like bronze, marble, plaster and clay convey his deep respect for the classical tradition while his disavowal of polished execution retained the unique marks of his artistic touch. His impact on the art world in pervasive even in the present and his pieces display timeless precision and forward-thinking composition.
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