John Rodin – Sculptor
John Rodin is renowned for his sculptures that depict extreme physical states and the innermost depths of man’s soul.
He was greatly inspired by Michelangelo and Donatello’s works, as well as by his lifelong companion Rose Beuret.
Early Life and Education
At the age of 10, Rodin began his artistic education at La Petite Ecole, an academy run by his mother that offered drawing courses. Later that same year he studied anatomy under sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye at his studio in Paris and continued on to the Ecole du Louvre for sculpture study as well as travels around Italy for further inspiration.
His early artistic career was marked by controversy and criticism. He struggled to gain admission into the esteemed Ecole des Beaux-Arts, which still maintained strict Neoclassical training at that time.
In 1880, the French government commissioned Rodin to design an entrance portal for a new museum of decorative arts in Paris. This project, later known as The Gates of Hell, was inspired by The Divine Comedy – a 14th-century epic poem that chronicles Dante’s journey through Christian hell and purgatory.
Rodin’s work is renowned around the globe. He was an important figure in modern sculpture, inspiring many aspiring painters.
His disobedience to academic conventions and vivid depictions of human form made him a formidable force in the arts. Additionally, his influence extended far beyond just himself; Henri Matisse, Henri Duchamp, the Cubists, and Futurists all had an immense effect on their students as well.
In 1875, Rodin traveled to Italy and was profoundly moved by the artworks of Michelangelo and Donatello. He spent two months there observing their masterpieces and endeavored to merge their artistic mastery with his own understanding of human nature.
Achievements and Honors
Rodin achieved great fame during his lifetime. He was an inventive sculptor and received several important commissions. Additionally, Rodin was highly-regarded as a poet and writer.
At the outset of his career, he was particularly drawn to depicting human form through sculpture. This passion eventually led him to create works that showcased Classical Greek and Roman art forms.
He was one of the earliest artists to recognize that parts of a figure could convey meaning on their own. This idea has since been emulated by many modern sculptors, such as Maillol and Brancusi.
He became renowned for his sensuous sculptures of lovers in the grip of desire, often made out of bronze but also using marble and plaster.
Rodin had no easy life. He was born into a poor family in Paris and had to endure an arduous apprenticeship before realizing his ambition of becoming an artist.
He then became an influential member of the arts community and often received prestigious awards. Additionally, he created many portrait busts and monuments featuring famous people.
Rodin stood apart from his contemporaries by refusing to idealize his subjects; rather, he preferred showing them as they truly were–whether old and wrinkled or young and voluptuous. He believed that the human body had an expressive force which allowed it to convey emotions and beauty without using traditional forms.
Rodin was an acclaimed French sculptor whose works have left a lasting impression on the art world. He is considered a pioneer of modern sculpture and his masterpieces can be found in galleries worldwide.
Throughout his career, he received many commissions from government agencies and museums. Most renowned among these was his monument to Victor Hugo, a writer who had become one of France’s most revered and popular nineteenth century figures.
Additionally, he created monuments to honor composer Gustav Mahler and playwright Honore de Balzac. Additionally, the state of France commissioned him to craft a bronze door for the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris.