Head of Sorrow

Auguste Rodin (1840 -1917)

Circa 1903-1904


H. 21.7 cm ; W. 22.5 cm ; D. 27 cm

S.1127 /Lux.152

Cast commissioned by the French state for the Musée du Luxembourg, and made by Alexis Rudier in 1908. Transferred to the Musée Rodin in 1918.

Rodin was first and foremost an exceptionally talented modeller, but in the course of his career he increasingly began to use preexisting works in his creative process. Artists have always had recourse to dismantling and reassembling their works, but Rodin made particularly bold use of this practice, exhibiting fragments as works in their own right. Thus the head of one of the children of Ugolino , which also belonged to The Prodigal Son , was removed from its context and enlarged circa 1904 to become the Head of Sorrow, which seems to cry out in grief. Enlargement smoothed forms by erasing details and conferred a stronger physical presence on works.


The title of a work almost always came to Rodin after its completion and could be modified in the course of time: translated into marble, the present work was also known as Joan of Arc, Orpheus or even Head of Medusa.

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