Study for the Monument to Balzac
Study for the Monument to Balzac, 1892
127.6 x 52.1 x 62.9 cm (50 1/4 x 20 1/2 x 24 3/4 inches)
Museum purchase with funds donated by the Museum Associates, Museum Members and Friends 66.057
In 1891,Auguste Rodin received a commission for a statue of novelist Honore de Balzac (1799-1850), which was to be installed infront of the Théâtre Françis in Paris.He proceeded to immerse himself in Balzac’s writings, studied his daguerreotype portrait, measured his clothing, and examined the physical characteristics of residents of his native region. The completed sculpture revealed Balzac’s nude, corpulent figure in the attitude of a wrestler. Appropriate to Balzac’s own style in its naturalism, the sculpture was nevertheless rejected by Rodin’s patrons,who declared the figure shocking and deformed. A second attempt, completed in 1898,depicted Balzac in the floor-length monk’s robe he wore while writing.Also rejected at first,the robed version was later installed in Paris near the intersection of boulevards Raspail and Montpamasse.(December 16, 2016 – June 30, 2017)
This sculpture portrays French novelist Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850) as a nude, corpulent figure in the stance of a wrestler. In 1891 Rodin was commissioned to make a statue of the author, to be installed at the Théâtre Français in Paris. Rodin immersed himself in Balzac’s writings, which were known for unvarnished descriptions of character, then examined photographs of Balzac, measured his clothing, and studied people of his native region in an effort to create a monument that exemplified the piercing realism of Balzac’s own work. Expecting a more dignified result, the sculpture’s sponsors were shocked by this confrontational portrait, and rejected it.
European Paintings and Sculpture, ca. 1770 - 1937
Edited BySlimmon, Ann H, and Judith A. Singsen, eds.
Contributions byRosenfeld, Daniel, et al
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 1991
TypeMonographs and CollectionsSelected Works
Edited ByWoolsey, Ann, ed.
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 2008
TypeMonographs and CollectionsA Handbook of the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design
Edited ByWoodward, Carla M., and Franklin W. Robinson, eds.
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 1988
TypeMonographs and Collections