Before the Creation

The Musée Rodin - Paris reopens on May 19th, 2021

- Diaporama

Before the Creation

Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)

The work Rodin produced after 1900 included several hundred erotic drawings.

In his erotic drawings, Rodin always focused on one or two nude models, attentively observing the mysterious region of the vulva. His models agreed to reveal their genitals to his gaze, often caressing themselves, sometimes reaching the heights of pleasure, allowing the artist to capture the most intimate and expressive movements of their bodies.

The subject of this watercolor drawing (annotated by Rodin at bottom right, avant la création) lies in the foreground: a woman’s vulva, highlighted by her spread thighs and foreshortened body. On her anonymous face, obscured by the way the drawing is framed, the elliptical lines of the hair and the open mouth are aligned to mirror the vulva. This work inevitably recalls Gustave Courbet’s The Origin of the World (1866, Musée d'Orsay), described by art historian Laurence des Cars in 2007 as “the culmination of the painter’s conquest of realism.” In Rodin’s work, however, the “modern” assertion of a visual vocabulary independent of reality (freedom of line, elliptical forms, intense colors and abstract, decontextualized background) vies with the erotic nature of his drawing. 

Discover the themes related to the work

Completion date :

About 1900

Dimensions :

H. 25 cm; W. 32.5 cm

Materials :

Black pencil, stumping, watercolor and gouache on paper

Inventory number :

D.06193

Credits :

© musée Rodin - photo Jean de Calan

Resources

Iconography

  • Before the Creation(jpeg, 13.6 ko)