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Petak, 28 Maj 2021 10:25

Inspiration for The Thinker by Auguste Rodin Istaknut

The Thinker in The Gates of Hell at the Rodin Museum  The Thinker in The Gates of Hell at the Rodin Museum

Auguste Rodin himself wrote about his intention to use a heroic figure à la Michelangelo to represent Thinking as well as Poetry: "The Thinker has a story. In the days long gone by I conceived the idea of The Gates of Hell. Before the door, seated on the rock, Dante thinking of the plan of the poem behind him... all the characters from The Divine Comedy. This project was not realized. Thin ascetic Dante in his straight robe separated from all the rest would have been without meaning. Guided by my first inspiration I conceived another thinker, a naked man, seated on a rock, his fist against his teeth, he dreams. The fertile thought slowly elaborates itself within his brain. He is no longer a dreamer, he is a creator."

Several inspirations influenced Rodin's creation of The Thinker. The foremost is the work of Dante Alighieri, the poet whom the figure was originally supposed to represent Dante wrote his epic poem The Divine Comedy between 1308 and 1321. The popularity of this poem at the end of the 19th century could well have been the reason Rodin chose this subject as the theme of his sculpture The Thinker.

A trip to Italy in 1875 further opened Rodin's eyes to the achievement of the past: Michelangelo, Donatello, and Ghiberti. He later noted that Michelangelo saved him from academicism. To Rodin, there was something poetic about the heroic nude and that type of heresy and romanticism was what he wanted to capture in his sculpture. Stylistically the sculpture The Thinker resembles the heroes of Michelangelo and the nude young men whom Rodin felt best to represent in a romantic and creative light.

Hugo Rheinhold was a contemporary of Rodin and a German Impressionist sculptor. He produced and exhibited sculpture Affe mit Schadel (Ape with Skull) before The Thinker was created and this work may well have influenced Rodin. What inspired Rheinhold in making his sculpture is unknown, although it has obvious parallels with Auguste Rodin's The Thinker. Both artists shared an appreciation of natural, realistic compositions. Affe mit Schadel shows the ape in the position of Auguste Rodin's Thinker while seated upon a pile of books.

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