On her 155th birthday, French artist Camille Claudel (1864-1943) was given major recognition this Sunday (Dec. 8) with a Google Doodle celebrating her pioneering sculptural work.
After studying at Académie Colarossi, Claudel began training under Rodin in 1884, learning about his method of observing profiles and the importance of capturing expressions.
Claudel turned into an influential muse. She was often Rodin's model and a collaborator on ideas, including his famous works The Kiss (1882) and the Gates of Hell (1880-1890). She also became his lover and confidant for several years. While Claudel was influenced by Rodin's technique, the master's work also took from hers, notably, Claudel's 1887 Jeune Fille à la Gerbe predated Rodin's similarly styled figural Galatea.
After the relationship ended, Claudel created more sorrowful and bitter works, angering Rodin who stopped his support of her career; she eventually descended into despair. Claudel's surviving sculptures (she destroyed dozens) are on display at the Musée Camille Claudel in Nogent-sur-Seine, which opened just two years ago, while others are held in the collection of the Rodin Museum in Paris.
“Facing many challenges as a woman in art, Claudel’s determination pushed her to continually break gender molds and create even in the face of adversity,” Google states.
Paris-based artists Ichinori designed the Doodle, saying, "Camille Claudel is a unique artist of her time, deeply involved in creating and constantly trying to open new doors."
"Her life was made of poetry, hard work, freedom, drama, and pure creation," noted Ichinori.