Mask of the Man with the Broken Nose
Mask of the Man with the Broken Nose, 1864 (cast before 1882)
31.1 x 19.7 x 16.5 cm (12 1/4 x 7 3/4 x 6 1/2 inches)
Gift of Mrs. Gustav Radeke 21.341
This representation of a man with a broken nose is a cast of one of Rodin’s first sculptures. Its subject was an old man named Bibi whom Rodin employed early in his career. In 1864, Rodin modeled a clay bust of Bibi’s head and neck. During the exceptionally cold winter that followed, the clay model froze and the back of the head fell off. Although Rodin later reconstructed the head, he also preserved the masklike version and made several bronze casts of it. This cast was owned by one of Rodin’s earliest supporters, the British collector Constantine Ionides, before entering the Museum’s collection in 1921. Its appearance of age and fragmentation evoke comparisons with the ancient Greek and Roman sculpture that the artist had admired throughout his life.