Rodin Works: bust of jean-baptiste rodin
The bust of his father Jean-Baptiste is the first surviving sculpture of
Auguste Rodin. It was modeled 1860 in clay, saved in plaster but never
exhibited nor cast in bronze during Rodin's lifetime. Like the 'Bust
of Father Eymard', it was stored in an attic, where it was
rediscovered by Rodin's last secretary, Marcelle Tirel, together with the
sculptor's son Auguste, "..so black with dust and covered with spider
webs that only Rodin could recognize it." Posthumously, the bust was cast in bronze.
Auguste Rodin shows his father - a police official - like a republican from Roman Times,
without his characteristic beard and closely cropped hair. Over the neck
and the shoulders appear no clothes, instead the head merges into a base
in traditional antique style.
Elsen suggests the extraordinary firmness of the father's face in this portrait may have been the young artist's response to an alleged statement by Jean-Baptiste, calling his son a "soft pear".
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