AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)
Torse de l'Ombre,
100.5 x 73 x 49 cm (40 x 29 x 19 in)
Markings: Inscribed A. Rodin, © by Musée Rodin, numbered, dated and stamped with foundry mark
This torso belongs to one of Rodin’s most famous figures, L'Ombre, created around 1880 and used three times to adorn La Porte de l’Enfer, thus inaugurating a bold technique of repetition. The influence of Michelangelo is obvious.
L'Ombre, the outcome of a study for Adam, is one of the figures whose most significant fragments were preserved by Rodin, no doubt when Henri Lebossé, his most loyal praticien, enlarged it in 1901. Among the fragments is this torso, cut off at the base of the neck, the shoulders and the thighs, and infused with a tension that betrays its author's determination to equal the most famous classical models, including the Apollo Belvedere torso. Lebossé paid meticulous attention to the process of enlarging it, telling Rodin outright that it would “probably be the most important piece of sculpture in [his] work.” This fragment, carefully preserved by Rodin as was his custom, is a fine example of the energy and efficiency of a form reduced to essentials. Constructed on diagonals, the movement of the legs opposes that of the shoulders, intensifying its power as if to illustrate a comment Rodin made in 1914: "The Beautiful is like a god, a part of Beauty is the whole of Beauty.”