Rodin’s floodgates of creativity | Daily News

Rodin’s floodgates of creativity

Honestly, I am short of words to describe the hands of this genius, Francois-Auguste Rodin, perhaps the miracle sculptor the world ever knew. Michaelangelo and Raphael are great names too but that was in another world full of illus ions. They could never invade the domain of Rodin, the spectacular moulder of the nude the world came to know and understand the beauty that lies in nudity though puritans think otherwise.

This great creator was possessed with a fiery passion to sculpt Balzac that people were to laugh at later and mock him too but they could not destroy it which was the product of his entire life (I cannot understand either) It was the mainspring of his aesthetic and when his work was over, be became a new man. He pondered…. if the truth was doomed to die, his BALZAC would be destroyed by later generation.

Magnificent monument

He sculptured the monument that was three m. high and delivered in May 1893 and the monument stands magnificently on the Place du Palais-Royal.

Why was Rodin so passionate about Balzac:

He had moved into the literary circles of his age and fascinated by Dante, Balzac, Baudelaire and Hugo. They all recognized his genius and supported him in his endeavours both in his chosen art and writing.

The necessity to make a living put him in different directions. Whereas had he confined himself to sculptor instead of dabbling in bronzes, hewed-marble and stone, he could have produced a finer body of work at more remarkable heights.

Yet, Rodin’s creativity and capacity seemed unlimited because at moments he displayed sensuality, then he exalted it because the gift of expressing the pain of life and the terror of death and hell, was his forte. He never added beauty to his monuments. They were horrible one moment, eerie the next and stone hard in expression. He exhibited so much of the elements in turmoil, there was never a smile in a face. I found beauty in their ugliness because my eyes had been trained only to discover beauty in anything, no matter whether it was the living or the dead, because of my majoring in Aesthetic Studies. When many scholars found Rodin far behind Michaelangelo and Raphael, I found him strides ahead. I adore the beauty in his nudity, the sculptured magnificence in the nude of man and sometimes, in women that were very few. As once pronounced by Rudolf Nureyev, ‘The nude in a perfect body of a man, is far superior than all the beauty in a woman’ I think he is perfectly right and Rodin knew about it. What I do not like in Rodin’s work is that the finished product always looks rough, jagered and stone-heavy. There is never a flowing line because he was trapped in the dizzying, fertile imagination.

Lifestyle manual

The Gates of Hell is a fine example of his genius surfaced with multi fables, crouching women, symphonic poems, a tale from the Holy Bible and many males in their bare masculinity. Looking at The Gates of Hell is like reading a book on lifestyle. In the embracing couples, there is both desire and chastity. Rodin never sculptured his figures to over-exposure in the sexuality of sensuality unless otherwise, he had no option. They all had the Parisian face or her identity. Even in The Gates of Hell, it can be recognized though full of masterpieces. Rodin could never sculpt without a model and when necessary, he used his mistress, Camille Claudel as the model. He was so impressed by her personality, he stipulated in his will that a room in the Hotel Biron should be set aside for her sculptures.

Rodin was slow in his work unlike those who tried to race before time. He wanted space to make them more remarkable and realistic with his signature stone. He saw beauty in ugliness no matter whether his model was man or woman. To me, some looked bizarre and many could never understand him like Goya on whose work I had repulsion the moment he was introduced to us in our art class. I still shudder at Goya’s paintings no matter how iconic his masterpieces. As for Rodin’s sculptures, I vaguely remember seeing some at the Grand Palais Exhibition when I visited Paris for the first time. The famous Camille Claudel sculptor which was destroyed by the contradictions of her destiny is being reassessed today as a masterpiece.

Apart from Balzac, he modelled George Bernard Shaw in the pose of THE THINKER, in the nude. A temperamental sculptor, he exhibited his high emotions through the agony of sensuality. The next moment, he exalted it. He had the capacity of life and terror of death and hell in its extreme velocity. The elements he displayed in turmoil, was the multiplicity of humanity and voice of history in his era. He had no limit to its exposure. Where would you find such a guy today?

New beginning

After the painful break with his model/mistress, Camille Claudel, Rodin decided on a new beginning and left behind his traumatic years especial after the BALZAC affair. Presently he was financially secure and used his remaining strength or create a museum and bring together his sculptures and other collections because he believed by showing off his work that he was rendering some service to the cause of visual arts. With that thought in mind; he concentrated on his documents that were to become famous as his art.

With fame, he achieved he became solitary. And this fame rendered him perhaps more solitary than ever. He realized that ultimately nothing more than the sum of misunderstanding crystallize around a name. The more popular he became, the more solitary his life became. But then solitude can also be an antidote to the mind and body and refreshed attitude which we find in his later work. Evil genii combined with tenderness or passion as lovingly modelled by him were very much found in “documents” Women occupied a position of great impotence in Rodin’s life and work for better or worse.

Space we know is a basic necessity to an artist let alone a sculptor and during his lifetime, Rodin possessed about twenty different studies he worked and stored his sculptures. He was known to have occupied up to six at any given time. Friends, artists and politicians all visited his studio. Rodin took pleasure in explaining his art to all of them overcoming his usual shyness.

Around 1894, Rodin met William Rosenstein and they became inseparable friends, meeting frequently in Paris, London and Meudon. He was the director of the Carfax Gallery in London and helped in promoting Rodin’s work in England. Rosenstein described Rodin as the greatest sculptor of the century with the hands of a genius who went on to become the supreme artist of the Romantic Age.

Francois-Auguste-Rene was born in November 1840 and died in January 1917 fourteen days after he married Rose Beurer.