Rodin, Flesh and Marble

Rodin, Flesh and Marble

During the work of renovation going on at the Hôtel Biron, over sixty marble statues and preparatory studies, many of them from private collections, will be presented in this exceptional exhibition, Rodin, Flesh and Marble. Arranged by Didier Faustino, a talented artist and scenographer, masterpieces such as The Kiss or The Danaïd spring to life again!

The question of the materials employed in art is not simply a matter of technique. A strong symbolic dimension is part of the choice, and so marble takes us back to Antiquity, to the myths of ancient Greece, and to Italy of the Renaissance through the figure of Michelangelo. Marble is also considered to be the material that most resembles the flesh;  hard and cold, it must become warm and supple as it is transmuted beneath the artist’s chisel, demonstrating through the process both the artist’s virtuosity and his capacity to transform matter.

Rodin is above all a modeller, like most of his contemporaries, and, from the beginning of his career, he called upon the service of practitioners.  Nonetheless, his «style» is easy to identify in his sculptures, particularly his use of the non finito, which constitutes a virtual trademark, often imitated by other artists.  

Moreover, he was working in an era when «practice» was increasingly abandoned in favour of direct carving, or taille direct. Long disregarded by critics for historical and aesthetic reasons, marble sculpture nonetheless constitutes a very important part of Rodin’s art that it seemed pertinent to examine anew in this exhibition. The artist had a special relationship with this matter of marble, and his contemporaries saw him as a “dominator of stone” before whom “marble trembled”.  

Contrary to common assumption, his marble sculptures, far from being conventional, give life and form to the modern soul, “this dislocated, brutal and delicate psyche, spirited and weary, fervent and yet tending towards the negative”.  Not content merely to call upon his sense of plastic synthesis, the sculptor is adept at bring life to a classical material that is, a priori, given to immobility.

Works devoted exclusively to Rodin’s marble sculpture are rare, thus the catalogue of the exhibition, co-published with Hazan, fills an important gap, particularly in its exploration of the making of marble statuary (suppliers, practicians, etc.) from an angle that has rarely been studied before.


Aline Magnien, Conservateur en chef du patrimoine, chef du service des collections du musée Rodin

Featured works

Vue de l'oeuvre

  • Dernière vision, L'étoile du matin ou avant le naufrage Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • L'Homme au nez cassé Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • La terre et la lune Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • Victor Hugo Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • Fleurs dans un vase Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • La femme slave Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • Mains d'amants Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • La mort d'Adonis Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • Convalescente Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • L'aurore Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • La tempête Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • Petite fée des eaux Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • Psyché-Pomone Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • Femme-poisson Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • La Danaïde Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • Madame Roll Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • Galatée Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • Andromède Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • Jeux de nymphes Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • La mort d'Adonis Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • Paolo et Francesca dans les nuages Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • Rose Beuret Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • Diane Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • L'illusion, sœur d'Icare Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • Madame Fenaille, la tête appuyée sur la main Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • Le jour et la nuit Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • Fugit amor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • La main de dieu ou la création Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • Orpheline Alsacienne Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • Les bénédictions Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
- Featured works


    Bureau des Mésarchitectures / Didier Faustino


    4 essays, 232 pages et environ 250 illustrations
    Éditions du musée Rodin/ Fernand Hazan
    Price 35 €


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    Exhibition(s) location(s)

    Musée Rodin
    77, rue de Varenne, 75007, Paris


    From June 8, 2012 to September 1, 2013