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Balzac, Monumental Head (Balzac, tête monumentale)

European Art

This is an enlargement of one of the final life-size head studies for the Balzac monument. Its exaggerated physiognomy departs from the more realistic portrait studies of the project’s early stages, with an agitated sculptural surface meant to communicate a restless, creative psyche. The head was to be viewed from below and at a distance, and the effect of light on the deeply modeled sculpture played an important role in Rodin’s conception. From different perspectives and under various lighting conditions, Balzac’s face yields a multiplicity of expressions, suggesting the complexity of the author’s personality.
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES 1898; cast 1979
    DIMENSIONS 20 x 17 1/2 x 16 in. (50.8 x 44.5 x 40.6 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS Back, lower edge of base: ".Georges Rudier./.Fondeur. Paris." Lower edge of base, proper left: "© by Musée Rodin 1978"
    SIGNATURE Base, proper left: "A. Rodin" Interior, front of neck, plate in relief: "A. Rodin"
    INSCRIPTIONS Base, proper left, below signature: "No 6"
    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). Balzac, Monumental Head (Balzac, tête monumentale), 1898; cast 1979. Bronze, 20 x 17 1/2 x 16 in. (50.8 x 44.5 x 40.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, 84.75.23. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 84.75.23_view2_bw.jpg)
    EDITION Edition: 6/12
    IMAGE overall, 84.75.23_view2_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 1987
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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