Pierre de Wiessant, Monumental Nude (Pierre de Wissant, nu monumental)
Auguste Rodin, Fonderie de Coubertin, Saint-Rémy-les-Chevreuses
On View: Beaux-Arts Court, North, 3rd 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.
1886, cast 1983
78 1/4 × 44 3/4 × 36 1/2 in., 532 lb. (198.8 × 113.7 × 92.7 cm) (show scale)
Back of base, lower edge: "F*C"
Back, lower edge: "© by Musée Rodin 1983"
Base, proper left: "A. Rodin"
Base, proper left: "No I/IV"
Gift of the B. Gerald Cantor Collection
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Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917). Pierre de Wiessant, Monumental Nude (Pierre de Wissant, nu monumental), 1886, cast 1983. Bronze, 78 1/4 × 44 3/4 × 36 1/2 in., 532 lb. (198.8 × 113.7 × 92.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the B. Gerald Cantor Collection, 86.310. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 86.310_SL1.jpg)
overall, 86.310_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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