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Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
Rodin originally modeled Despair as part of his vast repertory of figures for The Gates of Hell. Its positive critical reception encouraged him to work on other versions which he showed at various exhibitions, keeping the same title despite the highly unusual image it presented. Although most depictions of sorrow featured a figure hiding its face in its hands or lying prostrate, Rodin’s sculpture represents a woman seated on a rock with one knee bent as she strains to stretch the other leg, her hands clasped around her foot.
The figure was particularly admired for its streamlined design and compact composition. It was probably a source of inspiration for Aristide Maillol’s The Mediterranean (1905), perceived as a manifesto for a return to classicism. From that time on, the bronze figure by Rodin was often reproduced.
The artwork in the museum
Permanent collections - Ground floor, room 5
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Date of conception :
Completion date :
H. 35,5 ; W. 36,5 ; D. 30 cm
Bronze and stone, sand-cast by Alexis Rudier, 1929
Inventory number :
© Photographic agency of musée Rodin - Jérome Manoukian
- Despair (zip, 771.2 ko)