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  • Writer's pictureErin

Rodin's The Thinker

On until the 29th of July, Rodin and the art of ancient Greece at the British Museum is my top pick of what to get up to this week.

The obvious highlights from the collection are the heart melting The Kiss, the thought-provoking The Thinker and the awe-inspiring Burghers of Calais.

A varied collection of the works by the famous French sculptor François Auguste René Rodin (1840-1917), sit side by side with historical ancient Greece artefacts, many of which were Rodin's inspiration throughout his lifetime. The artist is in fact known for being a precursor of modern day sculpture, but that was not his intention, and many of his works were highly criticised during his lifetime.

Both The Kiss and The Thinker were from his epic masterpiece The Gates of Hell, an unfinished sculptural group depicting scenes from Dante's Inferno. Comprising of a total 186 figures, some of Rodin's best known sculptures started off as figures in the design of this composition. The Thinker is one of Rodin's most recognisable works, and started out as a 27.5 inch bronze piece which he created between 1879 and 1889, intended to sit on the Gates' lintel, gazing down upon hell. Believed to be Dante, but suggestions of Adam from the bible, Hercules when he was contemplating suicide and even Rodin himself surround the identity of this mysterious inward thinking man.

The Thinker is full of physical and emotional tension, he's in a deep contemplating state as he sits alone of his pedestal, his eyes lacking a gaze which further accentuates this. His hand rests on his chin, covering his mouth silencing himself, his furrowed brow and clenched toes make this figure almost uncomfortable to look at. Pair this with his contorted body; his right elbow rests of his left knee, and it feels as though you've stepped into his personal space and aren't welcome - he was made to be seen from down below, we weren't meant to get this close.

Of course there's plenty more to see at this phenomenal exhibition at the British Museum, but hopefully this gives you a little inspiration into visiting their current exhibition Rodin and the art of ancient Greece, on until the 28th of July!

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