Colossal Left Hand holding Drapery
1st century AD
H. 21.2 cm ; W. 23.5 cm ; D. 29 cm
Gift to Rodin from John Marshall on 2 January 1914.
All that remains of a larger-thanlife statue of a man is this broken left hand clutching a piece of drapery. Gentle and full of energy at the same time, it was carved with precision and the veins that are apparent infuse it with life.
The archaeologist and art dealer John Marshall bought it in Rome and gave it to Rodin on 1 January 1914. The sculptor thanked him for this fragment, which, in his eyes, had the grandeur “of an antique or a Bernini” (Courtesy Ashmolean Library-University of Oxford).
In Rodin’s studio, fragments of antique hands, purchased in abundance, lay amongst the countless studies of hands modelled by the sculptor as independent works or separated from a statue in his experiments on fragmentation.