Sunday, April 1, 2012

Rodin Sculpture Garden

The house and gardens of Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) were given by the artist to the French State in 1916.  Located close to the Invalides, the great dome over Napoleon's tomb can be seen through the trees of Rodin's garden.


The gardens stretch away from the house with a long beautiful lawn and reflecting pool.  At present the house is undergoing remodeling and is not open to the public.  The sculpture is placed around the garden, with long vistas, little nooks, beautiful well-tended plants and strategically located benches.  It's a pleasant place to visit.

"The Thinker" or "Le Penseur" from1903 is one of Rodin's best known works.

Massive doors entitled "The Gates of Hell"... created from1880 to 1890

"The Three Shades" with the Eiffel Tower in the background

And the 1889 "Burghers of Calais"

This famous work was commissioned by the city of Calais to commemorate the defeat of the city in 1347 during the 100 Years War when the city was laid siege by the British.  After surrounding the city the British tried to starve out the population.  Offering to lift the siege the British asked for six volunteers of city leaders to offer themselves and their lives in exchange for the citizens of the city.  This statue recreates the six grim city fathers, emaciated from the siege, ropes around their necks expecting execution.  Ultimately, the Burghers were spared by the plea of the British queen who feared their execution might be a bad omen for the child she was carrying.

The French government has allowed 12 recastings of this famous sculpture which stand in various museums around the world including the United States (the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Brooklyn Museum, also in New York, the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia and the Norton-Simon in Pasadena, California).

It's a lot to think about!

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