Skip Navigation

Balzac, Nude Study C, Large Version (Balzac, étude de nu, grand modèle)

European Art

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.
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES 1892-1893; cast 1972
    DIMENSIONS 49 7/8 x 19 1/4 x 26 1/2 in., 148 lb. (126.7 x 48.9 x 67.3 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS Lower edge of base, near proper right foot: ".Georges Rudier./.Fondeur. Paris." Lower edge of base, near proper left foot: "© by Musée Rodin. 1972."
    SIGNATURE Front, top of base, proper left: "A. Rodin"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    EDITION Edition: 9/12
    CREDIT LINE Gift of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
    You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
    CAPTION Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917). Balzac, Nude Study C, Large Version (Balzac, étude de nu, grand modèle), 1892-1893; cast 1972. Bronze, 49 7/8 x 19 1/4 x 26 1/2 in., 148 lb. (126.7 x 48.9 x 67.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, 85.198. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 85.198_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 85.198_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.