2017 is the one hundredth anniversary of Auguste Rodin’s death. To mark the occasion, the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia is taking part in worldwide celebrations of the artist’s work and legacy with special exhibitions and programs. A new installation explores the artist’s intimate and powerful depictions of romantic love.
Bringing together marbles, bronzes, plasters, and terracottas made by Rodin over a thirty-year period, the installation includes works such as The Minotaur, I Am Beautiful, Eternal Springtime, and Youth Triumphant. It demonstrates the variety of approaches, meanings, and allusions that Rodin brought to his intimate figure groupings to evoke emotional intensity. In particular, Philadelphia’s copy of The Kiss, a marble commissioned by Jules Mastbaum in 1926 for the Rodin Museum, is considered for its unique history and as an example of Rodin’s continuing appeal. As part of the reinstallation, the library, octagonal galleries, and vestibules feature other important Rodin sculptures, including The Thinker and Monument to Balzac.
The Rodin Museum also includes works focusing on the towering bronze doors inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy that have occupied the building’s portico since 1929. In 1880 Rodin received a commission to create The Gates of Hell for a new decorative arts museum that was going to be built in Paris. Though the museum was never realized, The Gates became the seminal work of Rodin’s career and a key to understanding his artistic aims. Left in plaster at Rodin’s death in 1917, the first bronze casts of The Gates of Hell were made for Jules Mastbaum, the founder of the Rodin Museum; one appears here and the second was given to the Musée Rodin in Paris.