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The Rodin Museum in Paris and the secrets it holds

There are times when we prefer to run away from the big crowds and tourist sites. Despite the fact that in Paris, artistic city where they exist, there are some of the most famous museums in the world, there are galleries that are not so famous, but equally essential. In this case, the Musée Rodin may be one of the most captivating.

Some facts about the Rodin Museum

It is located in the VII District of Paris, at number 77 Rue de Varenne, very close to Les Invalides. The museum is open every day except Monday and has a general rate of 12 euros.

This unique museum occupies the old mansion Peyrenc de Moras, better known as the Hôtel Biron, built in the 18th century. It is a beautiful building whose neoclassical architecture contrasts with the rococo of the time.

It is a single-family house with two floors with a large garden of three hectares which, throughout its history, has passed through multiple owners. Likewise, it will undergo different renovations and annex buildings will be added.

At the beginning of the 20th century, while the property was waiting to be sold, the hotel begins to receive occupants. Among them, it is worth mentioning Jean Cocteau, Henri Matisse or the sculptor Clara Westhoff. The latter, wife of the writer and poet Rainer Maria Rilke, will be the one who reveals the estate to Rodin.

In 1908 the artist rented the ground floor as a workshop and in 1911 he occupied the rest of the building. Although the State buys the house, Rodin refused to leave it. Thus, he offers his works and his collection from Antiquity so that this location becomes the future Rodin Museum and they allow him to reside there as long as he lives.

The museum was officially opened in 1919, two years after the sculptor’s death. Here you can admire his most famous works in a very special space for him, where he worked and lived.

The Musée Rodin Collection

The main collection of the museum is the sculptures of Rodin himself. He was a tireless creator who opened the doors to 20th century art with his new techniques. Here is the largest sample of carvings that exists by the author.

In marble, bronze, plaster or terracotta, these works are distributed in the different rooms creating a dialogue that guides us on the tour, as well as in the garden.

Other Featured Collections

Rodin was also an exceptional draftsman, reason why more than 7000 samples are conserved in the museum. Very few of these drawings serve as sketches for the sculptures. His facet as a draftsman runs parallel to that of a sculptor. In his own words, his drawings are the key to his work.

Also we can find engravings made with the drypoint technique and Japanese prints that the artist began collecting as early as 1900.

The paintings that he bought throughout his life and acquired from friendly painters are also exhibited as part of the collection. Claude Monet, Van Gogh, Eugène Carrière, Renoir, Sargent or Munch are some of the authors of the canvases that hang on the walls of the museum.

An extensive anthology of 25,000 photographs, 7,000 of them collected by Rodin himself, sheds light on the activity in the sculptor’s workshop and different moments of his life. And a large number of letters and files bring us closer to the personal biography and art of Auguste Rodin

Another important compilation is the one related to Antiquity. At the beginning of 1890 Rodin begins to acquire works that come from Egypt, Greece, Rome or the Near East. Thus, the ancient sculptures are exhibited together with the works of the artist himself.

All these collections are also accompanied by various sculptures by Camille Claudel, collaborator, muse, model and companion of this singular author. He was one of Rodin’s great loves before he met what would be the woman of his life, Rose Beuret.

Main works of the Rodin Museum

The father of modern sculpture cultivated innumerable genres throughout his career. The human body, nudes, portraits, sculptural ensembles… his production is very extensive. In the Rodin Museum we can find his most outstanding works.

The Bronze Age, bronze, 1877

It is the first important piece in Rodin’s career. In it we can see how the artist already has complete control over the body and modeling. Here we can admire a sculpture on a real human scale.

The kiss, marble, 1882

The Divine Comedy of Dante is a source of inspiration for Rodin, as in this work. It originally represented the lovers Paolo and Francesca.

I was destined to be part of the Door to hell. But the sensuality and eroticism of the figures contradicted the theme of the door. Thus, this passionate sculpture became an autonomous carving.

Be sure to surround these two characters from all angles to discover the different perspectives they contain. Admire the expressive strength of bodies and character non finiteone of Rodin’s hallmarks: the piece is left unfinished, as if it were still emerging from the block, for the viewer to interpret the work as they wish.

The Burghers of Calais, bronze, 1889

It is probably Rodin’s most famous sculptural group. It represents the six burgesses who in 1347 offered to give their lives to save the besieged city of Calais.

A memorial that flees from academic stereotypes. The artist achieves a moving composition, with great body drama. The anguish on the faces and the torrent of feelings will not leave you indifferent.

Monument to Balzac, bronze, 1898

Made in honor of the novelist Honoré de Balzac, Rodin spent more than six years documenting and studying the writer’s life. Finally, he presented him with the robe he used to write at night. It is a revolutionary work showing a genius with a domineering gaze.

The Thinker, bronze, 1903

Another of the sculptures designed to decorate the tympanum of the Door to hell It is today, by itself, one of Rodin’s masterpieces. A man deep in thought of him, but with powerful muscles. This indisputable symbol of modern art is one of the clear protagonists in the museum’s garden.

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