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From Clay to Bronze: Exploring the Legacy of Auguste Rodin

Who is Auguste Rodin?

Rodin Museum Paris

A Brief Overview of Auguste Rodin's Life

  • 1840: Auguste Rodin is born on November 12th in Paris, France.
  • 1854: At the age of 14, Rodin enters the Petite École, a school that specialized in drawing and mathematics.
  • 1857: Rodin tries to enter the École des Beaux-Arts, but fails the entrance exam.
  • 1858: Rodin begins working as a craftsman in a commercial sculpture studio.
  • 1862: Rodin enters the École des Arts Décoratifs, where he studies drawing and modeling.
  • 1864: Rodin fails to win the Prix de Rome, a prestigious art scholarship, but continues to work as a decorative artist for various studios in Paris.
  • 1875: Rodin creates his first major work, "The Age of Bronze," a realistic bronze statue of a young soldier that is exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Français.
  • 1880: Rodin begins work on "The Gates of Hell," a monumental bronze doorway that would take him over 20 years to complete.
  • 1884: Rodin creates one of his most famous works, "The Thinker," which originally served as a figure on "The Gates of Hell."
  • 1889: Rodin's work is exhibited at the Exposition Universelle in Paris, bringing him international fame and recognition.
  • 1891: Rodin begins work on "The Burghers of Calais," a group of bronze statues that depict a historic event in the Hundred Years' War.
  • 1900: Rodin is commissioned to create a monument to French author Honoré de Balzac, which takes him several years to complete.
  • 1908: Rodin donates his entire collection of sculptures, drawings, and other works to the French government, which creates the Musée Rodin to house them.
  • 1917: Auguste Rodin passes away on November 17th in Meudon, France, at the age of 77.

The Life of Auguste Rodin: Father of Modern Sculpture

Early Life of Rodin

Early Life

Auguste Rodin was born on November 12th, 1840 in the working-class district of Mouffetard, Paris, France. His parents were economically distressed, and his father worked as a police officer. When he was 14, he began attending the Petite École, a school that specialized in drawing and mathematics. Rodin's passion for sculpture developed later, and he applied to the École des Beaux-Arts to pursue Neoclassical art but was rejected. Rodin went on to train under Antoine-Louis Barye and also Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse. During his visit to Italy, Rodin encountered the works of Michelangelo and was deeply influenced by them.

Rodin in Adulthood Sculpturing


As Rodin matured, his work became increasingly renowned. He was known for his innovative techniques, which often involved leaving his sculptures unfinished to convey a sense of movement and emotion. His most famous works, such as "The Thinker" and "The Kiss," are still widely recognized today. However, Rodin's success was not immediate, and he faced many rejections and setbacks throughout his career. Despite this, he remained dedicated to his craft and continued to push the boundaries of sculpture. He also took on many students, including famous sculptor Camille Claudel, who became his lover and collaborator. Rodin's legacy as one of the most significant artists of the 19th and 20th centuries is firmly established.

Later Days of Rodin's Sculptures

Later Days

Rodin's later years were marked by continued recognition and success. In 1900, he was awarded the Legion of Honour, one of France's highest honors, and in 1916, he donated his entire collection to the French government. Today, his works can be found in museums and galleries all over the world, including the Musée Rodin in Paris. Despite his fame and success, Rodin remained humble and continued to work until his death in 1917. He was buried in Meudon, a suburb of Paris, where a museum dedicated to his life and work now stands. Rodin's legacy as one of the most influential sculptors in history lives on to this day.

Explore Auguste Rodin's Life at Musée Rodin

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The Major Works of Auguste Rodin

The Thinker (1880)

The Thinker (1880)

The Kiss (1882)

The Kiss (1882)

The Gates of Hell (1880-1900)

The Gates of Hell (1880-1900)

The Age of Bronze (1877)

The Age of Bronze (1877)

Burghers of Calais (1884-1889)

Burghers of Calais (1884-1889)

Rodin Museum.The Monument to Balzac

Balzac (1891-1898)

Legacy of Auguste Rodin

Legacy of Auguste Rodin

Auguste Rodin's legacy as one of the greatest sculptors of all time cannot be overstated. His works were revolutionary, breaking free from the strictures of classical sculpture and embracing a more naturalistic approach. 

Rodin's approach to sculpture was radical that it paved the way for other artistic movements, including Expressionism and Cubism. He is also credited with helping to redefine the relationship between artist and audience, as his sculptures were often intended to be viewed from all angles and invited tactile exploration.

 His works are still displayed in museums around the world, including the Musee Rodin in Paris, where visitors can experience his sculptures firsthand. His legacy continues to be celebrated through various events and exhibitions dedicated to his life and work.


Experience Rodin

If you love art and appreciate the works of Auguste Rodin, then you absolutely must visit the Rodin Museum in Paris. It's the perfect place to immerse yourself in the artist's work, from his iconic "The Thinker" to the breathtaking "Gates of Hell". The museum offers a unique opportunity to experience Rodin's genius in person and get a sense of the emotions that he sought to convey through his sculptures. Be sure to book your tickets online and prepare to be inspired and amazed.

Frequently Asked Questions About Auguste Rodin

Q. Who is Auguste Rodin?

A. Auguste Rodin was a renowned French sculptor known for his groundbreaking contributions to the art world.

Q. What are some famous works by Auguste Rodin?

A. Some famous works by Auguste Rodin include The Thinker, The Kiss, and The Gates of Hell.

Q. Where can I see Auguste Rodin's sculptures?

A. Auguste Rodin's sculptures can be found in museums and art galleries worldwide, including the Musée Rodin in Paris.

Q. What is the significance of The Thinker?

A. The Thinker represents the concept of contemplation and is considered a symbol of human intellect and philosophical thought.

Q. What inspired Auguste Rodin's sculptures?

A. Rodin drew inspiration from various sources, including mythology, literature, and the human form itself.

Q. How did Auguste Rodin contribute to the field of sculpture?

A. Rodin revolutionized sculpture with his innovative techniques, breaking away from traditional norms and paving the way for modern sculpture.

Q. Can I visit Auguste Rodin's studio?

A. Yes, you can visit Auguste Rodin's former studio, which is now the Musée Rodin in Paris, and explore his workspace.

Q. How can I learn more about Auguste Rodin's life and art?

A. If you want to learn about Rodin first-hand, we recommend visiting Musée Rodin You can explore biographies, books, articles, and online resources dedicated to Auguste Rodin's life and artistic contributions.

Q. Are there any lesser-known or hidden gems among Rodin's sculptures?

A. Yes, there are lesser-known Rodin sculptures that deserve attention, such as "The Eternal Idol" and "The Hand of God."