Gaudenzio Marconi (1842 -1885)
Auguste Neyt, Model for "The Age of Bronze"
H. 24 cm ; W. 14.8 cm
“I have unbounded admiration for the nude. I worship it,” Rodin used to say. He sought out models with strong, vigorous bodies, whether they were professional or not. Auguste Neyt, a muscular telegraphist, who remained friends with the sculptor after posing for The Age of Bronze , was an amateur. At the time, Rodin was struggling to be recognized as an artist in his own right and was working relentlessly to produce a great piece of sculpture.
Shown at the Salon des Artistes Belges, in Brussels, in 1877, the statue met with unanimous acclaim, although one art critic suspected Rodin of having used a life cast to make it. To quash this accusation, a few months later, Rodin turned for help to Gaudenzio Marconi, a prolific photographer of nudes. Intending to present the work again, this time at the Salon des Artistes Français, Paris, he commissioned Marconi to take photographs, from the front and back, of August Neyt naked, in the pose of The Age of Bronze . These efforts were, however, all in vain. The jury never even looked at the photographs.