William H. Robinson Senior Curator of Modern ArtJulie Dansereau-Tackett Doctoral Fellow, Case Western Reserve University
Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917), probably by Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse (French, 1824-1887)
glazed earthenware, Overall: 37.46 x 38.1 x 38.1 cm (14 11/16 x 15 x 15 in.). Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1995.71
Although inscribed with the name of the sculptor Carrier-Belleuse and associated with one of his drawings that shows a large, globular vase supported on a stand with seated male figures around its perimeter, it has long been accepted that in fact the figures themselves were modeled not by Carrier-Belleuse but by an assistant in his studio, the young Auguste-Rodin. It has been further suggested that this work was competed very shorly after Rodin returned from a trip to Italy. We know from his writings that Rodin was profoundly moved by the works of Michelangelo that he saw in Florence and Rome, and the expressive modeling of the figures on this base seem certainly to have been inspired by Michelangelo's design of flanking figures from his decoration of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. The emotional energy of these figures became a significant characteristic of Rodin's mature sculptural style and finds one of its earliest expressions in the modeling of these Titans.
Philadelphia Museum of Art, "Rodin and Michelangelo: A Study in Artistic Inspiration" March 27-June 22, 1997, p.98, 99, cat. no. 9.
CMA (organizer). Cleveland Museum of Art, Oct. 21, 2007- January 13, 2008: "Modern Masters from the Cleveland Museum of Art"
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