With base: 182.2 x 66.4 x 47 cm (71 3/4 x 26 1/8 x 18 1/2 in.)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph King 1918.328
The sculpture suggests the heroism and suffering of his countrymen during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71. This life-sized male figure was modeled after a Belgium soldier named August Neyt.
Rodin’s earliest surviving life-size sculpture, The Age of Bronze is an enigmatic and provocative image of a man awakening to new consciousness. The figure originally held a spear in one hand; by removing the weapon, Rodin stripped the sculpture of narrative symbols and focused on the sensuality and psychological power of the male nude. Contemporaries found the figure so realistic they falsely accused Rodin of making a cast from a living person. Museum trustee Ralph King commissioned this cast from the artist in 1916 with the intention of donating it to the museum. Rodin personally supervised the exceptionally fine casting and finished it with his favorite patina, a deep reddish tone he called “crushed grape.”
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