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The Secret by Auguste Rodin

The Secret by Auguste Rodin

The Secret by Auguste Rodin

“The Secret” was modelled by Auguste Rodin and depicts an unknown object hidden by two palms. The secret is keeping the palms forever apart but close enough for the fingers to touch. The two hands are the right hands of two separate people. The sculpture creates an intimate space between the hands and is considered a companion piece to sculpture “The Cathedral”.

In another sculpture of “Two Hands“, there is an inscription in the plaster version: “Hands of Rodin and Rose Beuret”, which suggest that these hands are the hands of Rodin, the sculptor and his lover. Was this also the case for this sculpture about a secret?

In many of the Rodin sculptures of hands, the space between the hands is meaningful and mysterious. Emptiness or space was an essential element of Rodin’s composition. Rainer Maria Rilke pointed out that for Rodin:

“the role of air had always been extremely important.”

During his career, Rodin 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 stated that he felt an:

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

Rodin imbued the hands of his figures 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.

The Secret

  • Title:                  The Secret
  • Artist:                Auguste Rodin
  • Year:                  Modelled in clay 1910; cast in bronze 1925
  • Place of Origin:  France
  • Material:            Bronze Casting
  • Dimensions:      33 1/2 x 19 x 15 1/4 inches (85.1 x 48.3 x 38.7 cm)
  • Museum:           Rodin Museum, Philadelphia

Auguste Rodin

Reflections

  • Do certain secrets actual keep us apart?

Events during Rodin’s Lifetime

  • 1840
    • Auguste Rodin was born in Paris
    • Claude Monet was born in Paris
  • 1848
    • Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published the Communist Manifesto
  • 1850
    • The death of Honoré de Balzac
  • 1859
    • Charles Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species
  • 1861-1865
    •  United States Civil War
  • 1869
    • Suez Canal opens
  • 1886
    • Statue of Liberty was Dedicated
  • 1889
    • Eiffel Tower construction concludes
  • 1899
    • Sigmund Freud publishes The Interpretation of Dreams
  • 1900
    • First Paris Metro opens during the Paris World’s Fair
  • 1901
    • The first major exhibition of Pablo Picasso’s artwork in Paris
  • 1914 – 1918
    • World War I
  • 1915
    • Albert Einstein publishes his General Theory of Relativity
  • 1917
    • Rodin dies

Quotes by Auguste Rodin

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“True artists are almost the only people who do their work for pleasure.”

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“The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live. Be a man before being an artist!”

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“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.”

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“The human body is first and foremost a mirror to the soul, and its greatest beauty comes from that.”

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“I invent nothing, I rediscover.”

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“The more simple we are, the more complete we become.”

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“I choose a block of marble and chop off whatever I don’t need.”

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“People say I think too much about women, yet, after all, what is there more important to think about?

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“Love your calling with passion; it is the meaning of your life.”

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“Patience is also a form of action.”

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“Art is contemplation. It is the pleasure of the mind which searches into nature and which there divines the spirit of which nature herself is animated.”

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“The artist must create a spark before he can make a fire and before art is born, the artist must be ready to be consumed by the fire of his own creation.”

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“To the artist, there is never anything ugly in nature.”

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“Art is the pleasure of a spirit that enters nature and discovers that it too has a soul.”

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“Sculpture is the art of the hole and the lump.”

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“Patience is also a form of action.”

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“Man’s naked form belongs to no particular moment in history; it is eternal and can be looked upon with joy by the people of all ages.”

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“I am like a moon that shines on an immense, unknown sea where ships never pass.”

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“To any artist, worthy of the name, all in nature is beautiful, because his eyes, fearlessly accepting all exterior truth, read there, as in an open book, all the inner truth.”

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“I invent nothing, I rediscover.”
– 
Auguste Rodin

~~~


Photo Credit: GM

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