Letter from Auguste Rodin to Rose Beuret

Auguste Rodin (1840 -1917)

Early 1876

Ink on paper

H. 21 cm ; W. 13.8 cm

Inv. L.6

While still unknown to the public, Rodin realized a youthful dream by making an eagerly-planned visit to Italy, a compulsory step in any artistic career. On his travels, he sent this unique document to his loyal companion, Rose Beuret, whom he did not marry until 1916, shortly before her death. Among the artist’s earliest manuscripts, this very moving letter describes the route he had followed before arriving in Rome and attests to the close rapport that the two young people had, while heralding his development as a sculptor. Rose was the first of his many female assistants and here he urges her to take care of his works in his absence.


Meanwhile, in Florence, the young sculptor came face to face with the great masters of the Italian Renaissance and studied Michelangelo and Donatello. In search of a formal vocabulary, Rodin was disconcerted, overwhelmed, by the works of Michelangelo that he discovered. The emotional quality of the modelling, the tormented poses and the muted force stemming from his unfinished works reassured Rodin, while revealing new paths for him to explore.




Te dire que je fais depuis la première heure que je suis à florence, une etude de Michel Ange ne t’etonnera pas, et je crois que ce grand magicien me laisse un peu de ses secrets. Cependant aucun de ses eleves, ni de ses maîtres, ne font comme lui Ce que je ne comprends pas, car je cherche dans ses éleves directs, mais ce n’est que dans lui, lui seul, où est le secret. j’ai fait des croquis le soir chez moi, non pas d’après ses oeuvres mais d’après tous les echafaudages les systèmes que je fabrique dans mon imagination pour le comprendre, eh bien je réussi selon moi à leur donner l’allure ce quelque chose sans nom que lui seul sait donner.

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