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Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
Among the damned figures of The Gates of Hell, some are resigned to their fate while others continue to fight. Such is the case of the Despairing Youth, whose entire body is stretched vertically in a gesture of lament, beseech or fury. The strength and precision of Rodin’s model are at their apogee here; very few artists in history ever achieved such heights: the bones and muscles are perfectly in place, giving the impression of them moving beneath the skin, but, rather than contenting himself with an exercise in style, the sculptor has shaped each detail to contribute to the overall expression. This figure does not represent a particular character from Inferno, but is broadly based on the terrifying descriptions in Dante’s Divine Comedy.
The pose of the Despairing Youth is reminiscent of The Prodigal Son, who is none other than the male figure in Fugit Amor. Rodin also combined these two figures to create handles for an incomplete antique vase from his personal collection.
The artwork in the museum
Permanent collections – ground floor, Room 5
We cannot guarantee the presence of all our artworks; some may be out on loan.
H. : 27,8 cm ; W. : 10,6 cm ; D. : 10 cm
Inventory number :
© Agence photographique du musée Rodin - Jérome Manoukian
- Despairing Youth(zip, 757 ko)