On this date in 1840 the celebrated French sculptor Auguste Rodin was born. Rodin is credited by art historians as ushering in the era of modern sculpture. Before Rodin the human form in sculpture was formulaic and idealized. Rodin broke with that tradition and rendered the human form with a natural realism that often pointed to the psychological and emotional state of the subject. One of his more famous bronze works, "The Thinker" was originally called the "The Poet" and was meant to be a part of a larger commissioned work. The first large-scale casting of "The Thinker" was in 1902. That first bronze can be found outside the Rodin Museum in Paris, France.
"What makes my Thinker think is that he thinks not only with his brain, with his knitted brow, his distended nostrils and compressed lips, but with every muscle of his arms, back, and legs, with his clenched fist and gripping toes," Rodin said of the work.
Michael E. Palmer is a writer and photographer based in Alabama.
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