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Pierre de Wiessant, Monumental Nude (Pierre de Wissant, nu monumental)

Auguste Rodin, Fonderie de Coubertin, Saint-Rémy-les-Chevreuses

European Art

On View: Robert E. Blum Gallery, 1st floor
Rodin’s sculpture The Burghers of Calais is a memorial to a group of fourteenth-century citizens who offered to sacrifice themselves to save their long-suffering city. It comprises six large figures, three of which can be seen elsewhere in the exhibition. For each of four of the monument’s six figures, Rodin also executed a full-scale nude, among them this undraped version of the burgher Pierre de Wiessant. The practice of creating nude figure studies, which allowed artists to refine poses and understand how clothing should drape over the body, derives from the academic tradition that Rodin both embraced and rejected during his career.

Wiessant’s pose is tense and twisted, the fingers of his oversize hands are spread and curled, and his neck muscles are taut and elongated. His form recalls the forceful, tormented figures by Michelangelo that Rodin had studied in Italy, and that continued to inspire his focus on the human body as a vehicle for expressing psychic states. Rodin often retained in his finished work accidents and marks that are evidence of the sculptural process—here, a gash in Wiessant’s chest and a mass of bronze on his right arm—believing they too could amplify the image’s dramatic force.
MEDIUM Bronze
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES 1886, cast 1983
    DIMENSIONS 78 1/4 x 44 3/4 x 36 1/2 in. (198.8 x 113.7 x 92.7 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS Back of base, lower edge: "F*C" Back, lower edge: "© by Musée Rodin 1983"
    SIGNATURE Base, proper left: "A. Rodin"
    INSCRIPTIONS Base, proper left: "No I/IV"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Robert E. Blum Gallery, 1st floor
    ACCESSION NUMBER 86.310
    STATE I/IV/12
    CREDIT LINE Gift of the B. Gerald Cantor Collection
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917). Pierre de Wiessant, Monumental Nude (Pierre de Wissant, nu monumental), 1886, cast 1983. Bronze, 78 1/4 x 44 3/4 x 36 1/2 in. (198.8 x 113.7 x 92.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the B. Gerald Cantor Collection, 86.310. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 86.310_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 86.310_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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