Auguste Rodin (1840 -1917)

Salammbo

Circa 1900

Pencil and stumping on paper

H. 20.4 cm ; W. 31 cm

D.6012

In this drawing of a woman with outspread thighs, exposing her genitals, arching her back and hiding her face under her folded arms, the eroticism is highly charged. This body in a state of ecstasy is even more provocative because the artist, as in many of the drawings of his final years, used stumping to model the female form and infuse it with a sculptural presence.

 

The two annotations, Salambô and St antoine (sic), make reference to Gustave Flaubert’s eponymous novels. Without being an illustration for either of these books, this drawing, like others inscribed with the name Salammbo, attests to Rodin’s admiration for the writer. As in most of Rodin’s drawings, the titles are known to have been attributed by the artist a posteriori. The sensual character of this nude recalls some disturbing seduction scene that could be found either in the violent, exotic novel Salammbo, or in The Temptation of Saint Anthony.

 

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