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Art Glossary: Auguste Rodin


Photo of French artist Auguste Rodin

Photo of French Artist Auguste Rodin, taken in 1906.


Auguste Rodin was a French sculptor who lived from 1840 to 1917. Rodin failed the entrance exam to the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris three times, and instead began working as an artisan. From 1864 to 1870 he worked in the studio of decorative sculptor Albert Ernest Carrier-Belleuse. (For more details, see this timeline of Rodin's Life and Work from the Victoria and Albert Museum.)

This training in commercial working methods rather than traditional fine art would be important in his approach to sculpture. Rodin can be thought of an Impressionists working with sculpture rather than painting. (For details, read Rodin's Working Methods from the V&A.)

Rodin's most famous sculptures are The Thinker, The Kiss, and The Gates of Hell, depicting scenes from Dante's Inferno, which he spent more than 35 years working on.

There are two museums dedicated to Rodin's work: the Musee Rodin in Paris and the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia.

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