The Hand of God
The Hand of God, ca. 1898
100.3 x 82.5 x 68 cm (39 1/2 x 32 1/2 x 26 13/16 inches)
Museum Appropriation Fund 23.005
1916 or 1917-1923, Purchased from the artist by Samuel P. Colt; 1923, Purchased by (RISD Museum), Providence, RI
Rodin’s The Hand of God has been viewed not only as a metaphorical representation of the creation of man but also as a commentary on the sculptor’s role as creator. The emblematic hand that emerges from a block of roughly hewn marble represents the Divine Creator forming the bodies of Adam and Eve interlocked in a primal embrace. In contrast to the figures’ slender, attenuated limbs, the sinewy hand was perceived by critics as that of a working man. Together, the well-defined hand and the ephemeral figures bridge Rodin’s interests in both realist and symbolist art. One of three known marble versions of The Hand of God, RISD’s sculpture was purchased directly from Rodin by Samuel P. Colt (1852-1921) of Rhode Island. The Museum acquired it after Colt’s death.