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Auguste Rodin (1840 -1917)
Pencil, watercolour and gouache on paper
H. 49.9 cm ; W. 31.7 cm
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As in his sculpture, Rodin experimented with combinations of figures in his drawings. This stunning composition thus resulted from the assemblage of two cut-out figures, probably traced from two separate drawings. As has been previously been seen, the two figures were then juxtaposed to give rise to a new work.
Through the addition of colour, Rodin then brought out the meaning he saw in this two-figure group. Applied in broad strokes of the brush thick with green, blue and purple gouache, the dark background seems to shrink back from the yellow halo that lights up the women’s bodies. Like an angel, one of them touches the other with her right hand and thus appears to draw her out of the darkness and bring her back into the light of life.
The annotation Resurrection, later added by Rodin, confirms this interpretation of the work, but his fundamental preoccupation lay elsewhere, as always in Rodin’s work, form was more important than subject, and the expressive force of the drawing alone sufficed.