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Auguste Rodin (1840 -1917)
Saint John the Baptist
H. 203 cm ; W. 71.7 cm ; D. 119.5 cm
Cast made by Fonderie Alexis Rudier in 1915 (?).
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Like The Age of Bronze, this figure is portrayed without the usual attributes that helped identify the subject: only the gesture seemingly suspended in space remains.
Rodin himself described how the idea for this figure had been suggested to him by an Italian peasant from the Abruzzi called Pignatelli, who came to offer him his services as a model : “As soon as I saw him, Iwas filled with admiration; this rough, hairy man expressed violence in his bearing… yet also the mystical character of his race. I immediately thought of a Saint John the Baptist, in other words, a man of nature, a visionary, a believer, a precursor who came to announce one greater than himself. The peasant undressed, climbed onto the revolving stand as if he had never posed before; he planted himself firmly on his feet, head up, torso straight, at the same time putting his weight on both legs, open like a compass.The movement was so right, so straightforward and so true that I cried: ‘But it’s a man walking!’ I immediately resolved to model what I had seen.” (Dujardin- Beaumetz, 1913).