The Joy of Museums

Finding Beauty & Meaning in Museums

Adam by Auguste Rodin

Art Gallery of Western Australia - Joy of Museums - Adam by Auguste Rodin

Adam by Auguste Rodin had its genesis in 1881, when Rodin received a commission for two large figures of Adam and Eve. Originally he intended these paired of sculptures to be placed on either side of a sculptured bronze portal called The Gates of Hell. This was a monumental sculpture piece commissioned in 1880 and which became Rodin’s life work as he continued to work on and off on this project for 37 years, until his death in 1917.

This Adam sculpture, derived from an existing work, under the name “The Creation of Man”. The title and the pose of this large-scale figure of Adam attest to the influence of Michelangelo’s works, specifically the painting of Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

The well-developed musculature, which suggests great physical strength, contrasts with the Adam’s pose, which points to a tormented being. Rodin’s Adam seems to emphasise his earthly bonds, by having the pointed finger towards the ground, whereas Michelangelo shows man at the moment when God confers the divine spark of life.

'Adam's Creation Sistine Chapel ceiling' by Michelangelo JBU33

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Ceiling

Rodin’s figures in the sculpture are often nude, especially “The Thinker” as Rodin wanted his figures in the tradition of Michelangelo, to wanted to represent intellect as well as poetry.

Essential Facts:

  • Title:                     Adam
  • Artist:                   Auguste Rodin
  • Year:                     Modelled in clay 1870 -1874; cast in bronze 1974
  • Place of Origin:   France
  • Material:              Bronze Casting
  • Dimensions:        H. 197 cm ; W. 76 cm ; D. 77 cm
  • Museum:              Art Gallery of Western Australia

Artist Essential Facts:


“I invent nothing, I rediscover.” Auguste Rodin



Photo Credit: By GordonMakryllos (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons