Straight From the Artist’s Mouth

Posted in art by Anna on June 19, 2009

Rodin was a man without an agenda. He said what he felt, and checked any facetious pretension at the door. He also sculpted what he felt, and the only way to truly understand the depth and purity of Rodin’s work, is to see it. Fortunately, the Loyola University Museum of Art is currently providing easy access to Rodin’s painfully sensitive renderings of the human experience at its latest exhibit, Rodin: In His Own Words.

Despite what the beret may lead you to assume, the artist's quotes included in LUMA's new exhibit are far from cliche.

Despite what the beret may lead you to assume, the artist's quotes included in LUMA's new exhibit are far from cliche.

What’s genuinely fantastic about this particular exhibit is that it allows the viewer to hear exactly what the artist was thinking, not through a professorial middle man spouting theories and speculations, but from the refreshingly blunt honesty of the artist speaking straightforwardly about his intentions. Each caption incorporates a quote from Rodin, and purity and clarity are prevalent both in Rodin’s honest, poetic words and his equally honest and poetic sculptures, which personify the human struggle through the physical tension and muscular contortions of the figure while idealizing humanity simultaneously by revealing the beauty of this struggle. Surprisingly, the piece that personifies this best is not a large, towering sculpture, carrying obvious weight and grandeur, but rather, a small scale study, entitled “Smaller Right Clenched Hand” (1885). The hand, which is not entirely clenched, but rather in the early stages of clenching, is like a spiteful claw. Tense, angry, and brimming dangerously with life, the outward facing palm confronts the viewer with tight, muscular hills and valleys which personify passion and emotion in a purely physical way. Enhancing the beauty of this strange little sculpture is that, in its caption, Rodin speaks about the importance of using a live model, which is reflected in the obvious humanity in the presence of the hand.

Rodin was able to trap the beauty and fluidity of life in the stillness of his art, and this extraordinary gift made him a legend. Equally extraordinary, however, is the poetic sincerity of his words.


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