Rodin’s The Thinker

Rodin the thinkerThe Thinker, or Le Penseur in French, is a well-known bronze and marble sculpture that was created by noted artist, Auguste Rodin. It stands in the Rodin Museum in Paris and depicts a man in deep meditation and somehow struggling from an internal conflict.

It has the man posed in a crouching position with the right hand to the chin and with the right elbow placed on the left knee. It depicts a person in deep contemplation as if surveying something below it. The Thinker has been used at times to represent Philosophy.

This marvelous piece of sculpture was originally named as The Poet and was only to become a part of a commission by the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris for the creation of a monumental door depicting different scenes that is based on Dante’s literary masterpiece,

The Divine Comedy. The Thinker was initially intended to depict Dante himself placed on top of the monumental door looking at the scene below. Rodin has planned the monumental portal to have statues that represented one of the main characters in Dante’s book.

Instead of the actual sculpture finding itself on the monumental door, Rodin has created a miniature of the statue that sits atop of the gates portrayed in the portal. The Thinker was sculpted in the tradition of style used at the time of Michelangelo, hence its nude appearance. Rodin made the first small plaster version of the statue around 1880.

The first large scale bronze cast of The Thinker was already finished sometime in 1902 but was not officially presented to the public until two years later. It first became the property of the city of Paris and was first displayed in front of the Pantheon sometime in 1906, thanks to the work of the artist’s many admirers who made it possible. It was later on removed and placed in Hotel Biron sometime in 1922, which was later on transformed and became the Rodin Museum.

Through the years, The Thinker has traveled through a number of countries. The original cast made its way to Wadsworth Athanaeum in Hartford Connecticut and was displayed there from March to April of 2006. It was then put on display at the Sakip Sabanci Museum in Istanbul, Turkey until September of 2006.

It has since made its way back to Paris.  Currently, there have been over twenty casts of The Thinker that can be found in various museums all over the world. Some of these are copies of the original work in different scales


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