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The Eternal Idol
Auguste Rodin (1840 -1917)
H. 73.2 cm ; W. 59.2 cm ; D. 41.1 cm
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Like so many others, the two figures of this group came from The Gates of Hell. Circa 1890, Rodin combined them to form a new independent work, which must have been an instant success, since a bronze was cast in 1891 and an enlargement, carved in marble,was commissioned in 1893 by Rodin’s friend, the painter Eugène Carrière. The plaster shown here is a cast of this marble, made at Rodin’s request because he liked to keep track of his works in this way – or possibly because he wanted to rework the group in other versions.
The title, The Eternal Idol, is very much in the Symbolist vein explored by Rodin at this time. For him, however, the form was always more important than the subject, and poetic titles like these were only given after the work was completed, sometimes in the course of discussions with writer friends.