Musee Rodin

Trip Start Sep 13, 2012
Trip End Dec 21, 2013

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What I did

Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Friday, October 19, 2012

So last week, we went to visit the Rodin Museum. It happens that the museum is right across the street from Les Invalides, so we had a great view of the dome from the museum gardens. The museum is mostly and outdoor exhibit within the garden walls around Rodin's house built in the 19th century. 

 The outdoor sculptures are all massive bronze figures done by Rodin back in the 1800s. Many of them have been cast in molds and duplicated to be shown all over the world. The Thinker, for example, has four or five identical copies stationed in different museums all over the world. The interesting thing about Rodin's sculpting is that he has a habit of making human limbs disproportionately large for the figure. All of the sculptures in the garden have huge feet and hands; it's kind of comical. I suppose a reason for making large feet on a sculpture would be for stability, but not all of his figures are in a standing position. Every statue is a human figure, each in a unique position. And in every case, it seems very realistic, (apart from the over-sized feet). because Rodin makes sure to sculpt every muscle, every vain, and every expression exactly as it would be on a real person. It's pretty incredible. 

 Each of Rodin's sculptures are historical figures or characters from great works of literature. One of his most famous sculptures is that of The Gates of Hell, from Dante's "Divine Comedy". It's a pair of enormous, black doors with carvings and figures climbing up the sides: The Gates of Hell. Tortured souls, suffering, but beautiful. On the very top is the figure of The Fates pointing together straight down into Hell. Just below them is the figure of Dante, seated, pondering, and looking down into the hell he has created. Many of the figures on the Gates were later enlarged and displayed on their own. The Fates, for instance, as well at The Thinker. There was also a coupled figure, a man and a woman kissing passionately, on the Gates: The Kiss. It was removed from the sculpture before it was exhibited because Rodin felt that it contradicted the hellish atmosphere of the Gates. The Kiss is one of the figures that was enlarged and later celebrated on its own. 

  We walked around the gardens for a while and took a bunch of pictures. Some of us made it more interesting by posing like the sculptures, (see pictures). After that we checked out the exhibits inside the house. Only half of the house is open to the public because it is under renovation, (like everything else in Paris), and won't be finished until 2015. The house is kept almost as it was when Rodin died and his family  turned it into a museum. It is very 19th century, with the chandeliers and the warped mirrors over the fireplaces. All of the rooms were cleared out and filled with sculptures of all kinds, mostly busts of heads, and small figures a few feet tall. The interior sculptures are much more beautiful, i think, than those outside. There are more textures and colors inside than just the wroth iron appearance of everything outside. I think my favorite was a sculpture of a pair of hands. It was just white stone carved into two, long, lean hands, each in the process of intertwining with the other. It was just kind of mesmerizing, very tender in comparison to everything else Rodin sculpted.  

After the museum, a few of the girls from my group and I went out for some Hagan Das. On our way we passed Notre Dame and got some long overdue 'blue sky' pictures, (the sky is rarely blue here; stupid rain), and got to see the famous bookstore "Shakespeare and Company". It is this very quaint book store right across from the Notre Dame, dedicated and opened in honor of Shakespeare himself. I have to go back and check it out to see if they have any books in English. 
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