• Renata Haidle

Musée Rodin - An Oasis of Calm in the Midst of Parisian Tumult

What is there to say about Auguste Rodin that hasn't been said yet?

He was extremely talented, a prolific artist, and an innovator - considered by many to be the founder of modern sculpture. He created over 6,000 sculptures, as well as 10,000 drawings, during the course of his lifetime. He collected thousands of photographs, paintings, and ceramics. And what better place to get acquainted with his legacy, than the house where he lived and worked, house that was eventually going to become the eponymous museum.

An unmissable destination in Paris, located at 77 Rue de Varenne in the 7th arrondissement, Musée Rodin is home to The Kiss and The Thinker (originally titled The Poet, after Dante Alighieri) - both masterpieces that are world-renowned and surely need no introduction. The Cathedral, a joining of two right hands, was initially titled The Ark of the Covenant and is part of a series that also includes The Hand of God, The Hand of the Devil, and Hands of Lovers. One of my favorites is Danaïd, a moving depiction of a mythological character who is condemned to perpetually perform an impossible task as punishment for a horrible crime. Its marble-carved lines are feminine and gentle, yet painfully hardened by the woman’s curse of forever attempting a futile endeavour.

The Three Shades, Auguste Rodin, 1886
The Three Shades, Auguste Rodin, 1886

Another notable work is The Three Shades, a reference to the souls of the damned in Dante's Inferno, who stand at the Gates of Hell. The poignancy of their despair is palpable, expressed in the curvature of the bodies and the almost horizontal bent in their necks. 

Also on display there are various drawings, prints and paintings, photographs and ceramics, as well as ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian sculptures, some received by Rodin as gifts, others purchased by him directly. 

Other artists' works are included in the museum's collections, one of them being Camille Claudel, Rodin's one-time muse and passionate lover, and an accomplished artist in her own right.

The Thinker, Musée Rodin Paris
The Thinker, Musée Rodin

Outside, the sizeable gardens, spread over three hectares, offer a chance for respite and recollection, among the fragrant rose bushes that cover the grounds in abundance. Cone-shaped evergreens dot the landscape. It is a welcome oasis of calm in the midst of Parisian tumult, a place to soak up the art of a genius surrounded by the unfailing beauty of nature.

Musée Rodin, Paris
Musée Rodin, Paris

Practical information:

Address: 77 Rue de Varenne, 75007, Paris, France

Métro: Varenne (M13), Invalides (M13, M8)

Hours: check website for up-to-date information. Reopening is planned for 7/7/2020.

Tickets: EUR 9-12


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