AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)
Homme Qui Marche Sur Colonne,
354 x 60 x 39 cm (139 x 24 x 15 in)
Markings: Inscribed A. Rodin, © by Musée Rodin, numbered, dated and stamped with foundry mark
This work is the result of an assemblage of two studies for Saint-Jean-Baptiste, probably made towards the end of the 1870s: a study of a torso and a pair of legs. Rodin did not hesitate to retain the fissures and cracks of the torso, as well as the very disparate modeling of the two elements, which do not hamper the completion of the work but rather help to understand its genesis.
The walking movement is not reproduced – both feet are on the ground – but merely suggested to the viewer. The work's fragmentary character gives it a universal quality. It was the internal dynamics of the human body, perceived as a “walking temple, architecture in motion,” that interested Rodin and made this work famous. Yet it was only belatedly, at the Salon of 1907, that it took the name of L'Homme qui marche. Assembling the sculpture to a tall column, a solution Rodin selected for the Pavillon de l'Alma exhibition of 1900, considerably modified the spectator's viewing angle, since a direct frontal view of the work was no longer available. The choice of a Corinthian capital adds an antique connotation to the fragmentary state of this extremely innovative sculpture. In this way Rodin doubly added a fourth dimension, that of time, to the work.