H. de Roos - The critique of the toronto exhibition




Eve plaster, from the Maclaren collection. Photo: Mario Carrieri

The Musée Rodin claims the MacLaren is "misleading" the public by displaying battered plasters. But would it not be equally justified to complain, that immaculate large white plaster of Eve at the R.O.M. looks sterile – instead of being a symbol of motherhood? Shouldn´t we criticize the decision of the MacLaren curators, to cover the bleeding of its corrugated iron armament with white pigmented wax – concealing the rusty stains in the genital area easily associated with menstrual blood? 

The story goes, Rodin´s model Anna Abruzzezzi was pregnant as he was working on this version, and Rodin wondered why he had to correct the belly profile time and time again [Tancock, p. 149; De Caso, 144, Note 9; Levkoff p. 62].

This much-quoted anecdote now is part of the way we understand this sculpture, as an expression of the female ability to give birth to new life, a gift that, to a certain extent, will always stay a secret and riddle to men. 

To show this Eve plaster as now "having her period" – Mary Reid explained the audience, a repair of the plaster would not prevent the bleeding from coming through again after certain time intervals – may be undesirable for various reasons, the prude attitude of the North-American public included.

But should we call this little retouch a "fraud" now, a "falsification", a "misleading of the visitor", or should we just accept that the history and meaning of such objects often is complex and ambiguous and that there are no fixed solutions how to present and understand them?



Another example: the large Eve sculpture discussed already still shows a metal strut on the right ankle, bracing the plaster to the base [Levkoff, p. 61]. The Cantor posthumous cast, commissioned 1968 by the Musée Rodin, shows how this strip protrudes very clearly at its highest point, bending back from the leg. The MacLaren plaster shows this strip very defined as well, but at the top, it merges with the limb. 

Now if we know that Rodin wanted this strip to be still present in his bronzes, just as a record of his working process in plaster (the bronze cast does not need the extra support at all), why not enjoy the "technical" character of foundry plasters wherever it is visible?


Eve, large, posthumous cast showing metal strut, LACMA, California, Cantor donation,
in Levkoff, "Rodin in His Time".





Advanced Search and Search Rules

Advanced Search & Search Rules

Terms of Use  Copyright Policy    Menu missing?  Back one page  Reload this page   Top of this page 

Notice: Museum logos appear only as buttons linking to Museum Websites and do not imply any
formal approval of RODIN-WEB pages by these institutions. For details see Copyright Policy.
© Copyright 1992 - September 2003 for data collection & design by Hans de Roos - All Rights Reserved.
Last update of this page: 17.09.2003