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... otis of the Renaissance masters, but a highly personal, intoxicating memory of what it was like to experience great art" (Lampert 12 - 13). Early on in the year of 1877, Rodin was accused of being an imposter. The Salon claimed that he had taken a statue and just molded right over it with new material.
When Rodin found out what he was being accused of, he rushed to the press and had pictures taken to prove that he was not an imposter, and to prove that the sculpture was not exactly like the human body. Finally, the Salon concluded that it was not the same thing and Rodin said, "I have learned how to use it [bronze casting]. " Rodin returned to Paris in late 1877, when a death occurred in the family. Rodin had lost his mother, and now his father had gone blind and was beginning to turn senile. If that were not enough, his son, from his common-law wife Rose (who had returned), was almost completely retarded. Some say that it is possible that he suffered a head injury when he fell from a two-story window as a young baby. Even though his son was dying, Rodin attempted to give his son drawing lessons, but his son appeared to ignore him.
Throughout Auguste Rodin's work, one can see the similarities between his work and Michelangelo's work. One can assume that after one man studies another great man, traits and ideas will shine through the artists' work. The Age of Bronze resembles Michelangelo's Dying Slave by the posture that the two statues share. The two men are twisted in the same fashion, as if they are "frozen" and sculpted just as the artist saw them. One leg of each statue has its knee bent, both heads are looking forward, and the arm is raised in the air. "But there the similarity ends.
The Slave is wearing sinking; Rodin's youth seems on the point of awakening, soon to stride forth with fresh energy" (Hale 51). Rodin's Crouching Woman resembles many characteristics from Michelangelo's Crouching Youth. The Crouching Woman, created between 1880 - 1882, looks as if she has eternal suffering. This is given away by the way her knees are bent, implying that she may be helpless, she wants to be pitied, or she is tired. Without the way the figure is positioned, from first impression, she looks like she is a tribal woman or a woman who works hard and is ready to give in. "The tribal woman, uncontaminated by conventional sense of property but not necessarily virginal. Rodin may have been tempted for years to place a model in the pose of Michelangelo's Crouching Youth" (Lampert 57 - 61).
Lastly, squeezing of the breast "suggests that she gave birth and is nursing a child" (Lampert 205). The similarities between the two statues is easier to see than the differences. Both figures heads are tilted the same way. Both knees are bent and intertwined with her own arms; while one hand holds one foot. Both women have clear muscle definition, but the facial expression is just like the muscle definition, obvious that there are no emotions to show. Lastly, both sculptures are left in an un-sculptured stone for a base.
Two of Rodin's sculptures resemble many of Michelangelo's pieces; Rodin's Vase des Titans, resembles Michelangelo's Igundi, Night and Day. The figures of the vase are positioned in the same way as well as posed in the same fashion. The man-like figures have the same muscle contortions that show a sense of muscle strain, just like the men in Michelangelo's work. "Rodin made a four seated Titans each measuring only 30 cm, their back bent to support a jardiniere bowl. The poses are taken in essence from the contrapuntal figures of Michelangelo's Igundi and his Night and Day" (Lampert 18).
The sculpture of the Reclining Titans resembles the same works of Michelangelo, the Igundi, which is on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Both sets of men have a sexual appeal because of the way that their legs are together and then apart. Once again, Michelangelo's work can be seen in Rodin's Faun and Child. The Faun and Child was designed in December 1882, and is almost a replica of Michelangelo's sketch of the prophet Jechonius. Both adult figures have their heads looking back, as if both guardian and child are in danger. Secondly, the guardian is holding the child with his / her left arm.
Lastly, it seems as though the children are either reaching or looking at something that they yearn for. There is not much information about how Michelangelo influenced Rodin's work of the Bibi bust; which soon was the head for The Man with the Broken Nose. "Rodin seems to be haunted by the Michelangelo when he produced the bust of Bibi as a kind of allegory of the endurance of mankind" (Hale 43). Lastly, The Three Shadows is one that I find very interesting. One says: "the influence of Michelangelo on Rodin's Adam is clear enough: not only is the contortion familiar but so too is the gesture of the right hand with pointing finger. The Shade, a variation of Adam, is considerably more original: the left arm hangs clear of the body, the spine becomes a deep groove and the neck is bent so radically that it forms a straight line with the shoulder giving the subject more of the denatured presence of the Shades who appeared in the tiny drawings" (Lampert 205 - 206). Rodin was a very talented artist, sculptor, and thinker.
He was able to make people see things the way that he saw them, and even though it was tough getting started, he prevailed and was able to live happily; considering what a hard life he had. Rodin died in November 1917 and his common-law wife, Rose, died in February of 1917. Rodin died with having completed over 400 sculptures and 7, 000 drawings. Finally, two of Rodin's most famous pieces of work were finally shown in the Salon in 1878, The Man with the Broken Nose and the Age of Bronze.
Bibliography: Cunningham, Lawrence and John Reich. Culture and Values: A Survey of the Western Humanities. Vol. 2, 4 th Edition. Forth Worth: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1998. Hale, William Harlan and the Editors of Time-Life Books. The World of Rodin: 1840 - 1917.
Virginia: Time-Life Books, 1978. Lampert, Catherine. Rodin: Sculpture and Drawings. Hong Kong: Kwong Fat Offset Printing Co.
Ltd. , 1986.
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