Magazine article USA TODAY

Auguste Rodin's Magnificent Obsession

Magazine article USA TODAY

Auguste Rodin's Magnificent Obsession

Article excerpt

More than any sculptor of his age, Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) revealed in his finished work the process of how he made each piece and so pioneered the self-referential aesthetic of modern art. In opposition to the academic standards of his era, Rodin presented partial figures, hands, feet, heads, torsos, and so on as finished pieces. Using fragmentation to express the complex dilemmas of social order, the artist broke the figure into pieces to capture the sensations of movement and emotion, and often exposed the joint lines of the piece molds to foil expectations of wholeness deliberately. Patched together couples often seem to collide and pull at each other without any true mutuality.

"Without a doubt, Rodin captured the passion of his age in highly expressive sculpture and imagery," marvels Brian J. Ferriso, executive director of The Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, Okla. Audiences enjoy exploring "such well-known and powerful figures as 'The Thinker' [1880] and 'The Kiss' [c. 1881-82], as well as more intimate, evocative works such as 'The Cathedral' [1908] by this sculptor of the human spirit." Rodin fundamentally reinvented the language of the figure and had a far-reaching impact on modern sculpture and the visual arts.

The exhibition "Rodin: A Magnificent Obsession" includes versions of the artist's most widely recognized sculptures, including his individual forms and monumental work, "The Gates of Hell" (1880). Moreover, it offers a broad overview of his bronzes, including his earliest bust, produced in 1860, of Jean Baptists Rodin, his father, supplemented by historic photographs and prints selected to give an enlightened perspective of his inventive powers in replicating the human form. …

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