Monument to Balzac

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

- Diaporama

    Monument to Balzac

    Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)

    Cast by Alexis Rudier, 1935, for the museum collections

    Having conducted his research into Balzac’s body and head simultaneously, Rodin ended up with an assemblage in which these two elements conveyed their own values. While the head had evolved from a portrait resembling the writer into a concentration of expressive features , the body had moved in the opposite direction, veering towards a dilution of form in a symphony of nuances materialized in the fluid surface of the dressing gown.

    What Rodin finally produced in 1897, after six years of labour, was a revolutionary monument. Stripped of the writer’s usual attributes (armchair, pen,book…), his Balzac was not so much a portrait but a powerful evocation of the visionary genius whose gaze dominated the world, of the inspired creator draped in the monk’s habit he used to wear when writing.

    This overly innovative monument caused such an outrage when it was unveiled in 1898 that the commission was cancelled. Rodin never saw his monument cast in bronze.


    The artwork in the museum

    Sculpture Garden

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    Date of conception :

    1898

    Dimensions :

    H. 270 cm ; W. 120.5 cm ; D. 128 cm

    Materials :

    Bronze

    Inventory number :

    S.01296

    Credits :

    © Agence photographique du musée Rodin - Jérome Manoukian

    Resources

    Iconography

    • Monument to Balzac(zip, 1572.9 ko)