The Joy of Museums

Finding Beauty & Meaning in Museums

The Hand from the Tomb

Rodin Museum - Joy of Museums 5

“The Hand from the Tomb” was modelled by Auguste Rodin. Rodin felt an:

“intense passion for the expression of the human hands.”

During his career, he modelled thousands of hands as small clay studies. For Rodin, the hand and the interplay of hands within groups of figures were expressive components of his sculptures.

Rodin imbued hands with a range of emotions, from anger and despair to compassion and kindness. He kept many hand clay studies in his studio where he would contemplate them as sculptural forms in space.

When Rodin composed a new figure he often experimented with different hands at varying angles to explore the possibilities of new expressive combinations. This approach reinforced Rodin’s interest in the partial figure and he felt that representations of parts of the body, such as the hand, are not necessarily dependent upon a complete figure to convey meaning.

Essential Facts:

  • Title:                     The Hand from the Tomb
  • Year:                     Modelled in clay 1914; cast in bronze 1925
  • Place of Origin:   France
  • Material:              Bronze Casting
  • Dimensions:        23 5/8 x 21 3/4 x 17 inches (60 x 55.2 x 43.2 cm)
  • Museum:              Rodin Museum, Philadelphia

Artist Essential Facts:

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“I invent nothing, I rediscover.” Auguste Rodin

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Photo Credit: By GordonMakryllos (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons