Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Rodin Museum in Paris, France. Musée Rodin.

Location: 77 Rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris. Opening hours: April-Sep; from 9.30 am to 5.45 pm. Oct.-Mar. 9.30am - 4.45pm. Mondays closed.

The museum is dedicated to the works of French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917). Also on display are the works by his former pupil and lover, Camille Claudel (1864-1943) a sculptor in her own right.

Images above;  'The Thinker',  Roses from the garden and 'Burghers of Calais'

The Garden
Surrounded by a high wall the museum and garden are an oasis of peace in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Paris. The garden is of a substantial size and the word 'park' would be more befitting. Some of Rodin's most acclaimed bronze sculptures can be seen here sitting among the some 2,000 rosebushes. The Thinker takes center stage as you enter the park and in close proximity is another large bronze; the much criticized sculpture of Balzac. On the left side of the entrance is the monumental work; The Gates of Hell, flanked by Adam and Eve. Rodin worked on The Gates of Hell for over 37 years and it was left unfinished at the time of his death. The piece was inspired by scenes from Dante's 'Inferno'. 

The courtyard features another monumental piece; Burghers of Calais, the commemoration of the siege of Calais. Part of this sculpture of may also be viewed from the street where large windows has been inserted in the surrounding wall. Moving clockwise around the mansion are the Marble Statue Gallery, another large bronze The Three Shades and Monument to Victor Hugo. Another piece Ugolino sits in the middle of a large reflecting pool. Take a break for coffee or lunch in the cafeteria before heading into the museum.

Photos above: 'The Kiss' in white marble.  A painting of 'The Thinker' by Edvard Munch.

The museum.
The museum is housed in the 18th-century building; Hotel Biron. Several famous painters and writers lived and worked here before Rodin, among them; Henri Matisse, Jean Cocteau and poet Reiner Maria Rilke.

The rooms are laid out chronologically so the development in Rodin's work can seen when moving from room to room. Another famous work The Kiss immortalizes in white marble, the passion of the 13th-century lovers Francesca Da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta. The accompanying terracotta version gives insight into Rodin's workmethods. Other striking works include Hand of God, The Danaid and The Age of Bronze.  One room of particular interest is the one dedicated to small sketches on paper. Here we get an insight into how Rodin developed his ideas for future sculptures and his studies of contrasts; how light vs. dark gives shape and life to a sculpture.

A large part of Rodin's private art collection is also on display with paintings by Monet, Renoir and three Van Gogh paintings including; Oat field with View of Arles and Portrait of Pere Tanguy. The collection also includes ancient Egyptian and Greek statues, urns and other artifacts.

A few tips for visitors. An excellent audio guide is well worth the price of 4 Euro, available in several languages. Flash photography is not allowed. Unfortunately all the works by Camille Claudel were on loan to museums abroad when I visited. I recommend checking the Official website for any announcements before your visit:  www.musee-rodin.fr  Text and photos, Copyright Petite Malou ©2006


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