Rodin Museum

Rodin Museum (57)

The Rodin Museum is a fabulous place for discovering the life and work of this controversial sculptor. Situated in one of the best areas of the city, the museum is an intimate place where one can submerge oneself in the work of one of the immortal Parisian artists. Above all, it is recommendable to visit the garden. In its well cared-for rose garden you can see as many as 27 bronzes and 40 marbles sculpted by Rodin.

The museum is situated in the Hôtel Biron, a rococo style building that was completed in 1730. After the Revolution, the Russian Embassy was established there and later it was the headquarters of a religious school. In 1905 it was in ruins and its future was in no way clear. 

While it was being decided what to do with the mansion, some artists were allowed to use it as a temporary studio. The Austrian poetess Rainer Maria Rilke, who was at the time Rodin’s secretary, Henri Matisse and Jean Cocteau used the Hôtel Biron. Finally Rodin himself moved there in 1908. The temporary situation became permanent when the State bought the building in 1911. 

In 1916, in exchange for his own apartment and studio, Rodin bequeathed all his works to the nation with the idea of opening a museum. Drawings, sculptures, archives, photographs, and even drawings and canvases by Monet, Van Gogh and Zuloaga from Rodin’s personal collection... However, Rodin died in 1917 before his museum was officially opened in 1919.

Rodin is considered the most important French sculptor of the 19th century, and the founder of modern sculpture. Self-taught, he never yielded before fashions or norms. He was 38 when he had his first major exhibition, “The age of bronze”, caused quite a stir in 1878. The work was so perfect that the critics had accused him of using moulds of the model. The critics did nothing more than give him publicity. Two years later he was given the commission to produce “The Gates of Hell”. This work that was to be in a future museum of decorative arts was never completed.

Almost all his works were surrounded by controversy. His statue of Balzac, in which the writer appears represented with an overall, was considered inappropriate by the Societé des Gens de Lettres and was concealed from the public for 41 years.

Rodin’s other passion, apart from sculpture, was Camille Claudel. In 1883 she arrived at his studio as a pupil and did not take long to become his lover and model. Camille’s face appears in many of Rodin’s works such as “The Kiss” or “The Gates of Hell”. Their relationship lasted until 1898, when the sculptor made it quite clear that he would not leave his partner for his lover. Camille then took refuge in her studio and ended up as an inmate of a mental hospital. In his will, Rodin stated that Camille Claudel’s work be exhibited in his museum.

Among the more than 2,000 rose bushes you will be able to see one of his most famous Works, “The Thinker”, among many others, and inside another well-known masterpiece is waiting for you, “The Kiss”.

So we recommend you do not miss the opportunity to enjoy first-hand these beautiful sculptures that will have surely seen many times in books, magazines and documentaries.

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