The Joy of Museums

Finding Meaning in Art & History

Two Hands

Rodin Museum - Joy of Museums 11

“Two Hands” was modelled by Auguste Rodin. A plaster version of this sculpture is inscribed “Hands of Rodin and Rose Beuret”, which suggest that these clasped hands are the hands of Rodin, the sculptor and his lover. Rodin stated that he 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:                     Two Hands
  • Year:                     Modelled in clay 1909; cast in bronze 1925
  • Place of Origin:   France
  • Material:              Bronze Casting
  • Dimensions:       18 x 20 7/8 x 12 3/4 inches (45.7 x 53 x 32.4 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