De Profundis Clamavi

Auguste Rodin (1840 -1917)


Pen and brown ink, brown ink wash, on a page from a copy of the original edition of Flowers of Evil

H. 18.6 cm ; W. 12 cm


Acquired by the Musée Rodin through David David-Weill and Maurice Fenaille.

While Rodin stopped exploring the world of Dante and drawings from his imagination in the early 1880s, he remained faithful to the highly contrasted style of his “black drawings” and continued to use gouache and ink wash until the late 1880s.


The perpetuation of this style is particularly noticeable in some of the ink drawings Rodin made for Baudelaire’s Flowers of Evil. Because he felt a special affinity with the poet and because he received a personal commission from Paul Gallimard, Rodin made 27 illustrations for the publisher and book lover’s own copy of the work, between October 1887 and January 1888 .


Derived from earlier drawings inspired by Dante’s Inferno, the pose of these two lovers, whose bodies are modelled by a few shadows in wash, expresses all the pain and passion contained in Baudelaire’s verse, which Rodin carefully copied onto the bottom of the page:


« Page 64

j’implore ta pitié toi

l’unique que j’aime, du

fond du gouffre obscur

où mon cœur est tombé ».

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