01 Painting, The amorous game, Auguste Rodin’s TWO WOMEN EMBRACING, Part 65 — With Footnotes

Pencil and watercolor on paper
H. 32 cm; L. 24 cm
Musée Rodin

The subject of Sapphic loves is very frequent in Rodin’s drawings, which often uses several models simultaneously.

The impetuosity and the accuracy of the movement had to be captured instantly and then transferred to a new sheet, the artist used to trace his drawing on the first draft in order to achieve a new, refined drawing. This is the case here, where the contour has neither deformation nor recovery. The beautifully mastered and continuous line is used to determine and shape the forms, which have become timeless, which are not even covered with the usual light ocher wash . The only colors are the blue watercolor flow on the folds of the drape of the woman on the left and the yellow ocher touches enhancing the hair. More on this work

François Auguste René Rodin (12 November 1840–17 November 1917) was a French sculptor. He was schooled traditionally, took a craftsman-like approach to his work, and desired academic recognition, although he was never accepted into Paris’s foremost school of art.

Rodin possessed a unique ability to model a complex, turbulent, deeply pocketed surface in clay. Many of his most notable sculptures were criticized during his lifetime. They clashed with predominant figurative sculpture traditions, in which works were decorative, formulaic, or highly thematic. Rodin’s most original work departed from traditional themes of mythology and allegory, modeled the human body with naturalism, and celebrated individual character and physicality. Rodin was sensitive to the controversy surrounding his work, but refused to change his style. Successive works brought increasing favor from the government and the artistic community.

From the unexpected naturalism of his first major figure — inspired by his 1875 trip to Italy — to the unconventional memorials whose commissions he later sought, Rodin’s reputation grew, and he became the preeminent French sculptor of his time. By 1900, he was a world-renowned artist. Wealthy private clients sought Rodin’s work after his World’s Fair exhibit, and he kept company with a variety of high-profile intellectuals and artists. His students included Antoine Bourdelle, Camille Claudel, Constantin Brâncuși, and Charles Despiau. He married his lifelong companion, Rose Beuret, in the last year of both their lives. His sculptures suffered a decline in popularity after his death in 1917, but within a few decades, his legacy solidified. Rodin remains one of the few sculptors widely known outside the visual arts community. More on François Auguste René Rodin

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