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Large Left Hand (Grande main gauche)

Auguste Rodin

European Art

Rodin was fascinated by the expressive capabilities of partial figures and fragmented body parts, particularly hands. He modeled hundreds of them, using them both as parts of more complex pieces and as independent sculptures that did not require further context or connection to communicate meaning and emotion.

Inspired by Renaissance artists and the academic tradition, Rodin took anatomy classes and studied preserved body parts and anatomical models on view at a medical museum in Paris. The contorted shapes of the diseased hands he saw there may have inspired hand studies like this one. Indeed, some physicians who have studied his hand sculptures claim to be able to discern specific syndromes and injuries in them.
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES before 1912; date of cast unknown
    DIMENSIONS 11 5/8 x 4 1/2 x 5 1/2 in. (29.5 x 11.4 x 14 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Inside of wrist: "RODIN"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    CREDIT LINE Gift of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Auguste Rodin (French, 1840–1917). Large Left Hand (Grande main gauche), before 1912; date of cast unknown. Bronze, 11 5/8 x 4 1/2 x 5 1/2 in. (29.5 x 11.4 x 14 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, 84.75.17. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 84.75.17_SL3.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 84.75.17_SL3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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