The Genius of the Sculptor

The Genius of the Sculptor

c. 1880-1883

Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

Pen and brown ink

Support: Lightweight, translucent beige wove paper discolored to yellow-brown

Sheet: 26.3 x 18.9 cm (10 3/8 x 7 7/16 in.)

Bequest of Muriel Butkin 2008.404


The Genius of the Sculptor treats an essential, self-referential theme in the art and life of Auguste Rodin. During his lifetime and afterward, he was viewed as the modern equivalent to the Renaissance genius of sculpture, Michelangelo (1475-1564). Moreover, Rodin repeatedly explored the theme of male creative genius in major works, such as the famous Thinker, a cast of which is owned by the museum. In this drawing, Rodin depicted the artist in active thought with his hand on his head, accompanied by a wingless "genius" floating up from him. He derived this symbol of inner creative energy from the traditional subject of the winged muse descending to inspire.

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