You have probably seen at least one piece by Auguste Rodin. If in doubt, you’ve even imitated the pose of one of this artist’s most famous sculptures. Remember the statue “The Thinker”? So it’s his! 😉 What you may not know is that there is a museum dedicated to the works of the French artist. The Rodin Museum has the advantage of being slightly off the beaten track for tourists visiting Paris. With that, you can access the museum quickly and wander through the beautiful garden. It is one of my favorite museums here in Paris!
Before I start talking about the museum, I think it is valid for you to know about the history of this world-known artist.
Who was Auguste Rodin
Rodin was born and lived part of his life in the suburbs of Paris. He began his interest in arts and drawings as a child. At thirteen, Rodin joined Petite École, a school specializing in art and math. After his studies, he worked as an artisan and even as a designer in a Sèvres porcelain factory. Over the years, Rodin gained more visibility, and his works began to be successful.
Unlike many artists, Rodin was able to enjoy the recognition of his works and fame before he died. To this day, Rodin remains one of the few known sculptors outside the visual arts community.
A curiosity is that in May 2016, the sculpture “The Eternal Spring” was auctioned and the value of the final bid was just over $ 20 million. The work carved out of a single block of marble, 80 centimeters long and 66 inches high and weighs 154 kilograms, was Rodin’s most valued (and most expensive) work to date.
Rodin Museum History
The museum was opened in 1919 at the Hôtel Biron, where Rodin used as a creative workshop. The idea of creating a museum came from Rodin himself. He donated his sculpture collection to the French government but instead requested that the Hôtel Biron building be transformed into a museum dedicated to his works. From there, the entire space, including the side garden, now houses 300 more works by Auguste Rodin and some paintings by Monet, from the French artist’s personal collections.
The Rodin Museum also has a room featuring works by Camille Claudel (the artist was Rodin’s student, assistant, and lover) and a garden restaurant. One tip is to grab some drink to drink while walking among the garden sculptures.
The sculpture The Thinker
The famous bronze sculpture “The Thinker” (Le Penseur) was initially called “The Poet” and was part of a monumental portal based on the Divine Comedy.
The French artist aimed at portraying Dante facing the Gates of Hell, heroically, while representing thought as well as poetry. And that’s why he made the naked sculpture.
The work began to be enjoyed and started to be produced at scale. There are currently 20 more copies scattered around the world’s museums. Even one is in Brazil, at the Ricardo Brennand Institute in Recife, Pernambuco.
RODIN’S OTHER PIECES
Not only the “Thinker” lives the Rodin Museum. There are several other amazing works both inside the building and in the garden. It is a delight to stroll around the yard and admire the sculptures in a natural environment.
It is another well-known work that is in the museum inside the building. The marble sculpture depicts Rodin’s love affair with his assistant Camille.
Produced by Rodin after the request of the Museum of Decorative Arts of Paris which had suffered a fire. With the theme of Dante’s Divine Comedy, it has 180 figures produced in bronze. It was from this work that appeared the sculpture “The Thinker” and others, in larger sizes.
It was inspired by the souls of the damned who are at the entrance to Hell, pointing to the phrase, “Abandon hope all who enter here.”
Practical Information from Rodin Museum
Address: Musée Rodin – 79 Rue de Varenne, 75007 – Paris
Hours: Open daily except Monday, 10am – 5:45 pm
Tickets: from € 11.30
How to get there: Varenne Station (line 13)
TIP: The museum has free admission every first Sunday of the month. 😉