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Male Nude, with One Hand and Knee on the Ground
Auguste Rodin (1840 -1917)
Pencil and watercolour on paper
H. 32.5 cm ; W. 25 cm
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Characteristic of the major change that occurred in Rodin’s drawings from 1896, this sheet shows the artist’s enthusiasm for “the sincere observation, which, disdaining theatrical poses, interests itself in the simple and much more touching attitudes of real life” (Gsell, 1911). From then on, Rodin only made drawings after a living model. He sought to capture chance movements, without taking his eyes off the model, without even glancing down at his sheet of paper. In this rare pencil drawing of a male nude, the erratic, initial lines of this “snapshot of a movement” are still visible.
Rodin subsequently reworked and completed it with slashes of watercolour wash, a process Gsell described as follows: “The colouring of the flesh is dashed on in three or four broad strokes that score the torso and the limbs… These sketches fix the very rapid gesture or the transient motion which the eye itself has hardly seized for one half second.They do not give you merely line and colour: they give you movement and life” (Gsell, 1911).