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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

“Young Mother in the Grotto” by Auguste Rodin

Young Mother in the Grotto by Rodin

Young Mother in the Grotto by Rodin

Auguste Rodin modelled young “Mother in the Grotto” in 1885, and the plaster sculpture was exhibited under the title “Woman and Love”. Several versions in bronze and marble were made during Rodin’s lifetime. The woman and child theme was evident in Rodin’s early body of work during the mid-1880s.

This sculpture represents maternal love in a mythological theme; the baby and the young woman was both sentimental and spiritual. In the later periods of his career, the subject of maternal love is much less prevalent in Rodin’s work as compared to the theme of love between man and woman.

Young Mother in the Grotto by Rodin

The woman, crouching in a grotto and shielding her child from the elements, embodies maternal love and protection. The contrasting textures of the smooth figures against the rough grotto walls highlight the way that human forms can magically emerge from the stone, during the masters’ sculpturing process, as Rodin learnt from studying Michelangelo’s work.

Like many of Rodin’s other works, the “Young Mother in a Grotto” is related to a mother and child pair found on the left panel of the “Gates of Hell”.

Auguste Rodin

Auguste Rodin is generally considered the father of modern sculpture; he possessed a unique ability to model a complex and deeply pocketed surface in clay. Many of his most notable sculptures were criticised during his lifetime. Rodin’s most original work departed from traditional themes of mythology and allegory, he modelled the human body with realism and with personal character and physicality. By 1900, he was a world-renowned artist and remained one of the few sculptors widely known outside the arts community.

Young Mother in the Grotto

  • Title:                     Young Mother in the Grotto
  • Year:                     Modelled in clay 1885;
    •                    Carved in marble 1891 by Jean Escoula (French, 1851 – 1911)
  • Place of Origin:    France
  • Material:               Marble
  • Dimensions:         H. 36 cm ; W. 28.2 cm ; D. 24 cm
  • Museum:              Rodin Museum, Philadelphia

Auguste Rodin

Reflections

  • Is it not amazing what can emerge from an artists hands?

Explore Museums in Philadelphia

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

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Photo Credit: JOM

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