Auguste Rodin (1840 -1917)
Monument to Victor Hugo, second project, sketch
or The Apotheosis of Victor Hugo
H. 116 cm ; W. 52 cm ; D. 63 cm
Cast made by Fonderie Alexis Rudier in 1926 for the museum collections.
After the rejection of his first project representing a Seated Victor Hugo, accompanied by muses, considered too confused by the monument committee in 1890, Rodin submitted a new project for the Panthéon: this time, the poet was clothed and standing, leaning against a pyramid-shaped rock and gazing out over the sea. Sirens from The Gates of Hell now adorned the base, while a winged spirit in a downward-falling position hovered over the poet, like an inspirational muse.
This monumental composition was better-suited to the immense space in the Panthéon transept and would have been a harmonious companion piece to Injalbert’s statue of Mirabeau. However, the project never came to fruition, but Rodin kept the standing figure of the poet, which he reworked, unclothed, and had enlarged circa 1902.