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

European Art

This study presents Balzac as a middle-aged man with cropped hair, a penetrating gaze, defiantly crossed arms, and a protruding belly, standing in a way that conveys no-nonsense physicality and inner confidence. The bulging stomach recalls images of Bacchus and satyrs on ancient Greek pottery, but the folded arms minimize this feature, endowing the torso with the portly strength of an aged athlete.

The mass of metal between the legs and the base is the result of casting a residual mound of the clay from which the figure was modeled. The mass suggests that Rodin did not consider this the final version of the monument, but rather a nude study for a figure eventually to be dressed. He typically made nude studies for clothed figures in order to understand how fabric should disclose the contours of the underlying body.
MEDIUM Bronze
  • 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)
    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
    ACCESSION NUMBER 85.198
    EDITION Edition: 9/12
    CREDIT LINE Gift of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation
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