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The Thinker Paper

The Thinker Paper

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Published by Marcus Chambers
I had to do some research on Rodin's sculpture, The Thinker.
I had to do some research on Rodin's sculpture, The Thinker.

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Published by: Marcus Chambers on Dec 18, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Amarok 1
The Thinker Auguste Rodin(1840-1917)
Anubis Amarok History of Modern Art November 28, 2009
Amarok 2
Auguste Rodin was born on November 12, 1840 and died on November 17, 1917. Rodinwas one of the best French sculptors of the nineteenth century. His inspiration was fromMichelangelo’s mastery of the human form, anatomy and with his own views of the humannature; he was able to make works of art that helped revive the art of bronze sculpting. Rodinwas famous for sculptures such as the
Saint John the Baptist preaching 
The burghers of Calais
The Gates of Hell 
, and especially
The Thinker 
. He was known to be a sculptor thatapplied realism, impressionism, and romanticism into his sculptures. On November 19, 2009, Iwent to the Norton Simon Museum and saw the replica of Rodin’s sculpture, The Thinker, whichwas made in 1902. This research paper will explore the origin and meanings behind the famoussculpture, The Thinker.The Thinker was considered to be one of Rodin’s most famous works. It was exhibited in1888. When one looked at the subject of the sculpture, I saw man made out of bronze in a seated position, leaning forward so that his elbow rested on his knee and his hand tucked under his chinfor a look of contemplation. That is merely the basic understanding of this sculpture. After researching, Rodin made the meaning of the sculpture significant. As Rodin said, “What makesmy Thinker think is not only with his brain, with his knitted brow, his distended nostrils andcompressed lips, but with every muscle of his arms, back and legs, with his clenched fists andgripping toes” (Cambell, 194). Rodin was communicating to his viewers that the thought processof his works of art would be so intense that it was like it took all of the figure’s strength tosustain the thoughts of the creative process. The sculpture exists as a symbol for art, educationand an image of mental activity and philosophy.The sculptural works of Rodin were greatly inspired by his days as a youth. In fact, onecould say that it started form his mother’s kitchen.
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“When he was five years of age, his mother was one day frying some cakes, the dough of which was first rolled thin, like pie crust, and then cut up into various fantastic forms, before it was dropped into boiling fat. The forms attracted Rodin’s attention and askedhis mother to let him make some men to fry. When Rodin was finished, his mother wouldfry the men he made. They would both watch as the little men were tortured by the fatand out from it were the striking forms of the little men” (Elsen, 16).This piece of information showed significance because this was Rodin’s first time sculpting andthis would lead him to his famous creation in his future. What also led him to creating sculptureswas his interest in the medieval and renaissance artists such as Michelangelo, Donatello, andGhilberti when he made a trip to Italy in 1875. He said, “Michelangelo helped me escape theacademicism” (Hale, 12). The magnificence of Michelangelo’s young aristocrats, muscular figures, grave prophets, enigmatic sibyls, heroic biblical figures, and the tormented and hell bound sinners haunted his imagination for the rest of his life. It was then that he was inspired andworked to attain the mastery of the human body that later would be shown in his sculptures.One’s research had shown that The Thinker was inspired by the story of Dante and theGates of Hell. As obscure the figure may be, it was revealed as to being the poet Dante from theGates of Hell. According to Rodin during his exhibition of the enlarged version of the Thinker inParis of 1904:“The Thinker has a story. In the days long gone by, I conceived the idea of “The Gates of Hell.” Before the door, there seated on a rock was Dante, thinking of the plan of his poem. Behind him there were Ugolino, Francesca, Paolo, all the characters of the DivineComedy. This project was not realized. Thin, ascetic, in his narrow robe, Dante separated

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