vendredi, octobre 22, 2010

Romancing Rodin

Auguste Rodin of France must be the greatest sculptor of the modern era. Among his most famous sculptures are The Age of Bronze (L'age d'airain) 1877, The Walking Man (L'homme qui marche) 1877-78, The Burghers of Calais (Les Bourgeois de Calais) 1889, The Kiss 1889, The Thinker (Le Penseur) 1902.

Le Penseur

Inspiré par Dante
Existence tourmentée
Pièce de beau de l'art

Le génie de Rodin
Façonnés en bronze
En face de son musée

Au lieu de la Porte de l'Enfer

Mots par ninotaziz

However, it was not Rodin's sculptures that made me try to get to know him better. Seriously, Rodin's sculptures in particular The Thinker was generally more recognizable than the master himself. Incidentally, The Thinker was originally called The Poet and was fashioned after Dante in his journey through Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso in the 14th century masterpiece, The Divine Comedy. The Kiss too was inspired by this literary work.

Coming back to my study of Rodin - a few years ago, I was enamoured with Camille Claudel and her work as a sculpture, breaking new grounds in a male dominated era. Claudel was an apprentice, muse and lover of Rodin. Rodin met Claudel when she was merely 18 years of age, already a fiercely determined young woman of the arts tutoring under Alfred Boucher. Rodin was 43 then. This artistic influence the pair had on each other resulted in a stormy relationship. Claudel inspired Rodin and sat for many of his figures, and she assisted him on commissions, only to break away from the master to develop her own style.

Camille Claudel was Rodin's soul mate but he was loath to part from his life partner and mother of his son- Rose Beuret whom he married in the final year of his life. In any case, their relationship ended, and Camille Claude eventually was placed in asylum by her family.

Rodin's work, mainly commissioned by various patrons were mostly inspired by great stories. Here is a story of sacrifice and compassion.

Calais, beautiful French Port
Fell during the War of 100 Years'
If not for Philippa of Hainault
The city had to greatly suffer

All were doomed, unless
Six nobles were willing to die
Accept the English conquest
The burghers heroic self-sacrifice

Queen Phillipa's intervention
She begged Edward III for mercy
For fear of bad omen
Towards her pregnancy

The Queen's tears for her unborn child
Saved the burghers of Calais

In this 1988 production, Gerard Depardieu plays Rodin and Isabelle Adjani is Camille Claudel.

Words by ninotaziz
Copyright 2010 © ninotaziz.
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