Funerary Spirit

Auguste Rodin (1840 -1917)

1898 (?)


H. 85.7 cm ; W. 39 cm ; D. 32 cm


Cast by Coubertin, 1981, for the museum collections

Possibly complete in its original state, this fragmentary figure, which appears to be on the point of losing its balance, makes a direct reference to Antique sculpture, notably The Spirit of Eternal Repose (Louvre, Paris) and Skopas’s figure of Pothos (4th century BC). The presence of a deep crack at waist level and an inconsistency behind the left leg emphasize this influence. The statue dates from the period during which Rodin produced fragmentary works, mutilating and paring down his figures to make them more forceful and expressive.


In 1899, Rodin received the commission for the Monument to Puvis de Chavannes , a painter and longstanding friend whose portrait bust he had previously modelled. He included the figure of the spirit in his project, as the symbol of painting. The latter, shown in the Pavillon de l’Alma in 1900, with a left arm, was then enlarged and reunited with its head and other arm. The actual monument never saw the day.

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