Fragment of a Male Head
1st-2nd century AD ?
H. 16.3 cm ; W. 9.5 cm ; D. 14 cm
Acquired by Rodin from the antiquarian Costis Lembessis in August 1904?
This anonymous fragment, broken diagonally, belongs to a Roman head of a man, copied from an original 5th-century Greek work, inspired by the sculptor Polycletes.
Rodin loved the roundness of the cheek and the sensuality of the mouth, the lively expression that he attributed to Praxiteles’ genius. He liked the evocative force of next to nothing in this fragment, purchased in August 1904.
He exhibited it and had it photographed from every angle, on a plinth in his garden in Meudon. From it, he drew the daily encouragement he needed to persevere in his art: “This simple fragment has given my life direction, ensured my tranquillity and restored my desire. And happy to thus approach the Antique and admire it more on seeing it continually growing, I rediscover each day this same exquisite mouth and this divine equilibrium,” (Rodin, 1904).