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Auguste Rodin Essay Research Paper Likesome artists

Auguste Rodin Essay, Research Paper Like some artists, Rodin was not an overnight success. Even though he was rejected numerous times from art schools because of his art style, he prevailed in the

Auguste Rodin Essay, Research Paper

Like

some artists, Rodin was not an overnight success. Even though he was rejected

numerous times from art schools because of his art style, he prevailed in the

end. Rodin, like many artists, got their inspiration from other great and famous

artists. In Rodin’s case, his inspiration came from Michelangelo. In Rodin’s

more famous works, one can see the similarities between the two artists’

artwork. Rodin’s parents were not wealthy, therefore, he was not able to attend

an art school of his choice. His father, however, did send him to Petite ?cole,

"a training ground for commercial draftsman and practiciens–cutters and

finishers of work in stone" (Hale 38). At the age of seventeen, Rodin won

his first prize for a clay model and he came in second place for one of his

drawings. His teachers at Petite ?cole encouraged him to "try for the

Grande ?cole des Beaux-Arts" (Hale 39). He applied, but was not accepted.

Not giving up hope, Rodin applied two more times, but was rejected. Determined

to make a living, he worked for a large commercial designer. It was there, that

he created numerous objects with his hands; anything from masks of gods to

cupids. This is where he began to see that he had a future in what he loved the

most, art. Even though Rodin was an artist, his career did not take off so soon.

When he was 22, his sister Maria died. He anguished so much over her death that

he decided to leave his art. He quit everything and decided to enter the Order

of the Fathers of the Very Holy Sacrament. While living in the monastery, Rodin

confided in Father Eymard, and he was the one that told Rodin to continue

sculpting and not to give up. Rodin eventually realized that religion was not

his calling and once he had enough money saved up, he moved into his first

studio. From that point on, he was fully committed to his artwork. Rodin said

that it was so cold in his studio, (he could not afford to have heat) that he

would wake up and see parts of his sculptures on the floor. "Since I didn’t

have the money to have them cast, each day I lost precious time covering my clay

with wet cloths. Despite that, at every turn I had accidents from the effects of

the cold and heat. Entire sections detached themselves?heads, arms, knees,

chunks of torso fell off; I found them in pieces on the tiles that covered the

floor… You could not believe what I lost in that way" (Hale 42). In 1864,

Rodin created a masterpiece, something that would change his life forever. He

created The Man with the Broken Nose, and with the new creation he said,

"It determined all my future work" (Hale 43). The "new"

sculpture was not found to be worth anything after Rodin tried to enter it in

the Salon. So, he took it back home and placed it in a corner for numerous

years. One day, one of Rodin’s students saw the lonely bust and asked if he

could borrow it to make copy. Rodin did not refuse and when the student, Jules

Desbois took it to his classmates at the Grande ?cole, they were astounded. All

of Desbois’s classmates stood around with amazement, all asking who created such

an antique (meaning that is was old, in a sense of not being used or displayed)

masterpiece. Desbois said, "?The man who made it, whose name is Rodin,

failed three times to enter the school, and the work you take to be antique was

refused by the Salon’" (Hale 45). In 1866, Rose, his girlfriend, gave birth

to a baby boy. He soon had a job with one of the best employers around, Carrier-Belleuse.

There, he was a draftsman, molder, finisher and a caster. He eventually left

because he had all the money that he claimed he needed. In 1870, he was called

to serve in the National Guard, but was released because of his poor vision. By

this time, there was no money and Rodin tried to call previous clients that

could possibly want some decorating done. All ties were broken after he left the

reputable company Carrier-Belleuse. After months without having any work, Rose

left him and Rodin decided to join a partnership with another ex-employee of

Carrier-Belleuse. Together, the two men made sculptures and reliefs (sculptural

technique where-by figures are carved out of a block of stone, part of which is

left to form a background. Depending on the degree to which the figures project,

the relief is described as either high or low, Cunningham 494) for a number of

building in Brussels. Auguste made a decent living from his commission and he

was soon able to do what he always wanted to do; travel to Italy. In 1875, Rodin

was able to afford to move to Italy, where he studied Michelangelo almost

immediately. At this point, Italy was probably the best thing that could have

happened to Rodin. "From the moment I arrived, I began to study

Michelangelo…and I believe this great magician will reveal some of his secrets

to me…" (Hale 50). "Having found his affinity for Michelangelo,

Rodin now tackled the problem of how to draw on his example, not just copy from

it. He began work on a full-scale figure that, while showing Michelangelo’s

influence, was quite unlike anything Rodin had actually seen in Italy. The

piece, a male nude destined to become famous as The Age of Bronze, was

freestanding, both literally and figuratively, and it signaled the end of

Rodin’s 20-year apprenticeship in art" (Hale 50). When Rodin sculpted The

Age of Bronze, he began a "Michelangelesque alternative. Rodin explained

that the master arranged the body in the shape of a console, head bent, thorax

incurved and knees at the lower bulge: this shape results in very deep shadows

in the hollow of the chest and under the leg…we notice that this sculpture

expresses the painful withdrawal of the being into himself, restless energy, the

will to act without hope of success, and finally the martyrdom of the creature

who is tormented by his unrealisable aspirations" (Lampert 14). In the

later part of this year, "aware that the anniversary of Michelangelo’s

birth was being celebrated by special exhibitions, Rodin aged thirty-five, had

set out on foot. His avowed intention was to discover the secret of movement in

Michelangelo. What he brought back was not a full portfolio of sketches with

useful ?secrets’ or even motifs of the Renaissance masters, but a highly

personal, intoxicating memory of what it was like to experience great art"

(Lampert 12-13). Early on in the year of 1877, Rodin was accused of being an

imposter. The Salon claimed that he had taken a statue and just molded right

over it with new material. When Rodin found out what he was being accused of, he

rushed to the press and had pictures taken to prove that he was not an imposter,

and to prove that the sculpture was not exactly like the human body. Finally,

the Salon concluded that it was not the same thing and Rodin said, "I have

learned how to use it [bronze casting]." Rodin returned to Paris in

late1877, when a death occurred in the family. Rodin had lost his mother, and

now his father had gone blind and was beginning to turn senile. If that were not

enough, his son, from his common-law wife Rose (who had returned), was almost

completely retarded. Some say that it is possible that he suffered a head injury

when he fell from a two-story window as a young baby. Even though his son was

dying, Rodin attempted to give his son drawing lessons, but his son appeared to

ignore him. Throughout Auguste Rodin’s work, one can see the similarities

between his work and Michelangelo’s work. One can assume that after one man

studies another great man, traits and ideas will shine through the artists’

work. The Age of Bronze resembles Michelangelo’s Dying Slave by the posture that

the two statues share. The two men are twisted in the same fashion, as if they

are "frozen" and sculpted just as the artist saw them. One leg of each

statue has its knee bent, both heads are looking forward, and the arm is raised

in the air. "But there the similarity ends. The Slave is wearing sinking;

Rodin’s youth seems on the point of awakening, soon to stride forth with fresh

energy" (Hale 51). Rodin’s Crouching Woman resembles many characteristics

from Michelangelo’s Crouching Youth. The Crouching Woman, created between

1880-1882, looks as if she has eternal suffering. This is given away by the way

her knees are bent, implying that she may be helpless, she wants to be pitied,

or she is tired. Without the way the figure is positioned, from first

impression, she looks like she is a tribal woman or a woman who works hard and

is ready to give in. "The tribal woman, uncontaminated by conventional

sense of property but not necessarily virginal. Rodin may have been tempted for

years to place a model in the pose of Michelangelo’s Crouching Youth" (Lampert

57-61). Lastly, squeezing of the breast "suggests that she gave birth and

is nursing a child"(Lampert 205). The similarities between the two statues

is easier to see than the differences. Both figures heads are tilted the same

way. Both knees are bent and intertwined with her own arms; while one hand holds

one foot. Both women have clear muscle definition, but the facial expression is

just like the muscle definition, obvious that there are no emotions to show.

Lastly, both sculptures are left in an un-sculptured stone for a base. Two of

Rodin’s sculptures resemble many of Michelangelo’s pieces; Rodin’s Vase des

Titans, resembles Michelangelo’s Igundi, Night and Day. The figures of the vase

are positioned in the same way as well as posed in the same fashion. The

man-like figures have the same muscle contortions that show a sense of muscle

strain, just like the men in Michelangelo’s work. "Rodin made a four seated

Titans each measuring only 30cm, their back bent to support a jardiniere bowl.

The poses are taken in essence from the contrapuntal figures of Michelangelo’s

Igundi and his Night and Day" (Lampert 18). The sculpture of the Reclining

Titans resembles the same works of Michelangelo, the Igundi, which is on the

Sistine Chapel ceiling. Both sets of men have a sexual appeal because of the way

that their legs are together and then apart. Once again, Michelangelo’s work can

be seen in Rodin’s Faun and Child. The Faun and Child was designed in December

1882, and is almost a replica of Michelangelo’s sketch of the prophet Jechonius.

Both adult figures have their heads looking back, as if both guardian and child

are in danger. Secondly, the guardian is holding the child with his/her left

arm. Lastly, it seems as though the children are either reaching or looking at

something that they yearn for. There is not much information about how

Michelangelo influenced Rodin’s work of the Bibi bust; which soon was the head

for The Man with the Broken Nose. "Rodin seems to be haunted by the

Michelangelo when he produced the bust of Bibi as a kind of allegory of the

endurance of mankind" (Hale 43). Lastly, The Three Shadows is one that I

find very interesting. One says: "the influence of Michelangelo on Rodin’s

Adam is clear enough: not only is the contortion familiar but so too is the

gesture of the right hand with pointing finger. The Shade, a variation of Adam,

is considerably more original: the left arm hangs clear of the body, the spine

becomes a deep groove and the neck is bent so radically that it forms a straight

line with the shoulder giving the subject more of the denatured presence of the

Shades who appeared in the tiny drawings" (Lampert 205-206). Rodin was a

very talented artist, sculptor, and thinker. He was able to make people see

things the way that he saw them, and even though it was tough getting started,

he prevailed and was able to live happily; considering what a hard life he had.

Rodin died in November 1917 and his common-law wife, Rose, died in February of

1917. Rodin died with having completed over 400 sculptures and 7,000 drawings.

Finally, two of Rodin’s most famous pieces of work were finally shown in the

Salon in 1878, The Man with the Broken Nose and the Age of Bronze.

Cunningham, Lawrence and John Reich. Culture and Values: A

Survey of the Western Humanities. Vol. 2, 4th Edition. Forth Worth: Harcourt

Brace College Publishers, 1998. Hale, William Harlan and the Editors of

Time-Life Books. The World of Rodin: 1840-1917. Virginia: Time-Life Books, 1978.

Lampert, Catherine. Rodin: Sculpture and Drawings. Hong Kong: Kwong Fat Offset

Printing Co. Ltd., 1986

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