Auguste Rodin is one of the French sculptors who is widely recognized for his artworks. He is usually considered as the beginning point of the modern ways of sculpturing. Since he took a different way of making sculptures, all, in the beginning, discarded his works. However, later people started accepting him and his works.
He had to face many controversies related to his works, but he was strong and courageous in sticking on to his style of making sculptures. Presently most of his works are on display in the Rodin Museum in Paris. It will be a wonderful experience for you to go and see the masterpiece works of Rodin in the city.
Here is a short look into the life and legacy of Auguste Rodin, which can help you know him better.
Auguste Rodin was born in the area of the 5th arrondissement in Paris. His father was an office clerk in the local police station there. His father had only very low earnings, but he was sent to a boarding school in Beauvais. However, he could not be successful in his studies. The problem of shortsightedness haunted him. It was at the age of 13, in the year 1854 that he decided to make his career in the field of arts. He attended the École Spéciale de Dessin et de Mathematiques, where boys were trained in decorative arts.
Training in the Early Period
Rodin made his application to the Grand École, after studying drawing and sculpture works for three years. Though he passed the drawing competition, he failed the sculpture competition thrice. The reason might have been that his naturalistic style did not meet the academic a standard of the school.
On his failure here, he resigned and started doing jobs in plaster workshops. This was his source of income for the next 20 years. He completed a portrait bust named The Man with the Broken Nose and submitted it to the Paris Salon in 1864. However, he faced rejection here.
In the year 1866, he met Rose Beuret who was his companion throughout his life. He had some successful sculpture making commissions, but everything came to a still stop during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.
Mature Period of the Artist
In 1875, Rodin created a sculpture, which turned out to be the turning point in his life. The Paris Salon accepted this sculpture known as The Age of Bronze in 1877. However, the work received great criticisms. The authenticity of the work was questioned, and it was told that he had cast it from the model’s body itself. The critics did not give value to the protests made by Rodin. Later Edmond Turquet bought the sculpture, and it was then that the genuineness of the work was acknowledged.
Rodin was then commissioned by Turquet to make a bronze door for a new museum, which was being planned to be built. Rodin started the work, but he did not continue and finish it because the museum plan was dropped eventually. Nevertheless, the work was named The Gates of Hell, and it became a very famous work of Rodin.
In the years in which Rodin was working on The Gates of Hell, he started his relationship with Camille Claudel. She joined as an assistant in his studio in the year 1884. It is during this period that Rodin made so many erotic sculptures of couples. Later she separated, on understanding that Rodin would not leave Rose to take her as his wife.
In 1889, it was held a centennial celebration of the French Revolution. In this program, Rodin exhibited 36 of his works together. Most of these works were part of The Gates of Hell or else influenced by the same. It can be observed that there was a change in the style of Rodin after this exhibition.
Final Years and Death
In the later years of his life, Rodin had a big studio with so many assistants to help him. However, his works continued to be scandalous and controversial. His work The Burghers of Calais gained much criticism. In 1891, he was appointed to create a sculpture in memory of Honore Balzac. He did not finish it in the allotted time, rather he took seven years to finish it. This one also was rejected and exposed to criticism.
After creating Balzac’s memorial, Rodin did not continue to work with his old vigor. However, he was successful financially. He held exhibitions in many parts of the world. In 1908, he established himself in the Hotel Biron by renting some rooms there. He made his studio, where budded the relationship with Marquise Claire de Choiseul. Later she was accused of stealing some of his drawings. In 1917, Rodin married Rose Beuret. Two weeks later she passed away and Rodin in November of the same year.
Even after the death of Rodin, his works remained in Hotel Biron and was later made into the Rodin Museum. His works had a great influence on the next generation artists and continue to amaze the tourists who visit the Rodin Museum.