Exhibitions: Rodin: The Cantor Gift to The Brooklyn Museum

  • 1st Floor
    Arts of Africa, Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden
  • 2nd Floor
    Arts of Asia and the Islamic World
  • 3rd Floor
    Egyptian Art, European Paintings
  • 4th Floor
    Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
  • 5th Floor
    Luce Center for American Art

On View: Base of Mummy Case with Painting

After Osiris's murder by Seth, Isis and her sister Nephthys mourned the death of the benevolent god-king. Their grieving may be seen as prep...

Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Hiroshige's 118 woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth-century Tokyo, is one of the greatest achievements of Japanese art.

    On View: Comb with Human Image

    This narrow comb originally had long teeth, and it was probably worn as a hair ornament. The long beard on the face resembles that on the ca...

     
    Want to add this object to a set? Please join the Posse, or log in.

    close

    PHO_E1988i020.jpg PHO_E1988i021.jpg PHO_E1988i019.jpg PHO_E1988i018.jpg PHO_E1988i017.jpg PHO_E1988i015.jpg PHO_E1988i016.jpg PHO_E1988i014.jpg PHO_E1988i013.jpg PHO_E1988i012.jpg

    Rodin: The Cantor Gift to The Brooklyn Museum

    Exhibition Didactics ?
    • The Monument to Balzac
      In 1891, a Parisian literary society commissioned Rodin to make a monument to Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850), one of the most controversial and influential authors in nineteenth-century France.

      From 1891 until 1895, Rodin’s idea was to make a physical and spiritual likeness of Balzac. In 1896, however, Rodin decided to make a more symbolic monument, associating intellectual and artistic creativity with sexual activity, for which Balzac was equally well known. Thus, Rodin sculpted a Balzac who grasps his erect phallus beneath his robe, an act reflected in the overall phallic silhouette of the final monument.

      Rodin completed the nine-foot-tall plaster model in 1898. Critics described it as a snowman, a side of beef, and a mistake. The society refused to accept it, and it was not cast in bronze until after Rodin’s death.

    • The Burghers of Calais
      In the wake of its humiliating defeat at the hands of Prussia in 1870, the French Third Republic sought to reinvigorate notions of heroism and citizenship. To this end, in 1884 the city council of Calais commissioned Rodin to create a monument to Eustache de Saint-Pierre. In 1347, while Calais was under siege by the English, Eustache and five other important citizens of the town had offered themselves as hostages, pleading for mercy for their long-suffering city.

      In his first maquette of 1884, Rodin proposed a conventional monument, with his figures united as a group on a tall pedestal. By the following year, however, the six figures were placed on a low rectangular plinth, at the same level as the viewer. As Rodin later wrote: “I wanted to have my statues placed in front of the Calais city hall on the very paving of the square like a living rosary ofsuffering and sacrifice.”

      Rodin first made nude figure studies, which he then draped in wet canvas to model the sackcloth worn by the burghers when theysurrendered. To create the most expressive figures possible, he used the radical technique of combining studies of hands and feet from different figures. Creating the very antithesis of conventional heroic sculpture, Rodin here set out the terms of a modern, anti-monumental tradition that resonates to this day.

    • Auguste Rodin
      Auguste Rodin (1840–1917) occupies a pivotal position in the history of sculpture. Straddling two centuries, his life’s work takes its place in the tradition established by the French Academy (whose standards reflected long-standing classical ideals of sculpture) while at the same time setting the stage for important twentieth-century innovations. He strove for success within the established framework of government-sponsored exhibitions and commissions yet refused to compromise his unconventional ideas about art.

      Although Rodin worked with the traditional materials of sculpture (clay, plaster, bronze, and marble), he handled them in an entirely new way. Instead of trying to smooth away evidence of the sculptural process, he often chose to retain the seams, tool marks, fingerprints, breakage, and excess deposits of the medium. Similarly, although many artists of the nineteenth century admired the sculptural fragments of antiquity, none before Rodin dared to create a partial figure and declare it a self-sufficient work of art. Rodin purposely omitted elements, such as arms, not essential to the expression he sought to achieve—something his contemporaries found difficult to accept. Nonetheless, his consistent use of the human figure attests to his respect for, and commitment
      to, tradition.

      While Rodin often took allegorical, mythological, literary, or historical themes as his subject, his goal in portraying them marked a significant departure from his predecessors. Like the Symbolist writers and artists who were his contemporaries, he sought to communicate the invisible by means of the visible. Character, emotion, and thought could all, he felt, be read in the pose, expression, and physical structure of a figure. Rodin believed that nature, being a creation of God, could produce only beauty: he who saw ugliness in nature saw wrong. Whereas age, deformity, and accident were banished from the Academic canon of beauty, Rodin proclaimed that these had their place and that true artists transformed such aspects into eloquent affirmations of nature’s splendor.

      The multifaceted character of Rodin’s art, its simultaneous endorsement and disavowal of cherished Academic principles, places him at the nexus between tradition and modernity in sculpture. The implications of Rodin’s ideas fueled many interesting and important developments in the twentieth century, earning him the well-deserved title “father of modern sculpture.”

      The sculptures by Auguste Rodin on display here were given to the Brooklyn Museum by the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation.

    advanced 107,779 records currently online.

    Separate each tag with a space: painting portrait.

    Or join words together in one tag by using double quotes: "Brooklyn Museum."


    Recently Tagged Exhibitions

    Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/www/default/views/opencollection/_tags_list.php on line 15

    Recent Comments

    "Hi Aimee, I think you mean Oreet Ashery? More information can be found in her profile on the Feminist Art Base: http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/eascfa/feminist_art_base/gallery/oreet_ashery.php?i=266"
    By shelley

    "Hi, I am trying to find the name of the artist who took and is in the photograph that follows- http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/exhibitions/664/Global_Feminisms_Remix/image/216/Global_Feminisms_Remix._%7C08032007_-_03032008%7C._Installation_view. I believe the artist takes pictures of herself dressed as a man but then exposes her femaleness, as in the photo of her dressed as an Ascetic Jew exposing her breast. Can you help me find her information? Thanks in advance- Aimee Record"
    By Aimee Record

    "For more information on Louis Schanker and the New York Art Scene of the mid 1900's go to http://www.LouisSchanker.info "
    By Lou Siegel

    Join the posse or log in to work with our collections. Your tags, comments and favorites will display with your attribution.


    The Brooklyn Museum Archives maintains a collection of historical press releases. Many of these have been scanned and made available on our Web site. The releases range from brief announcements to extensive articles; images of the original releases have been included for your reference. Please note that all the original typographical elements, including occasional errors, have been retained. Releases may also contain errors as a result of the scanning process. We welcome your feedback about corrections.
    For select exhibitions, we have made available some or all of the informative text panels written by the curator or organizer. Called "didactics," these panels are presented to the public during the exhibition's run, and we reproduce them here for your reference and archival interest. Please note that any illustrations on the original didactics have not been retained, and that the text may contain errors as a result of the scanning process. We welcome your feedback about corrections.
    For select exhibitions, we have made available some or all of the objects from the Brooklyn Museum collection that were in the installation. These objects are listed here for your reference and archival interest, but the list may be incomplete and does not contain objects owned by other institutions or lenders.
    This section utilizes the New York Times API in order to display related materials in New York Times publications.