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Rodin Museum

by on Feb.27, 2009, under Uncategorized


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I am so glad I checked this place out. I was wondering why there weren’t more famous Rodins in Musee D’Orsay and other museums, and where the really famous ones were. Well, they’re all in this one place, the Rodin Museum. Here’s a sculpture I remember from my childhood, when I seem to recall we had a miniature bronze of this guy. But I can’t remember where, and as I think about it it’s been ages since I’ve seen it. Whatever happened to that anyway?

As it so happened, I arrived at an amazing moment in the history of this sculpture. Before my eyes…

Must be a good one after 107 years.

The whole garden and museum were incredible. Definitely my favorite Museum. Rodin knew his shit. This was my favorite sculpture (well, maybe with the exception of his Gates of Hell, but how can you top that?)

I also liked the one below, mainly because unlike nearly any other sculpture anywhere, this character’s expression is just so awesome, she’s going “FUCK YEAH!” or something.

It’s a shame he decided to cast it in plutonium. Shortly after I arrived the last of the control rods embedded in the sculpture gave way and it reached critical mass, and the meltdown began.

Luckily I escaped in time with only minor radiation exposure.

Yeah, this was the most inspiring morning of my whole visit to Paris, which is saying a lot because I feel like my art resevoirs have been filled and my inspiration is in full force, by being able to take in so much great art over the past two weeks. But I have new respect for Rodin after seeing the majority of his work up close.

There were also some pieces from his own personal art collection, including some ancient greek and roman sculptures. I finally got how he’d seen these things, all smashed up with arms and legs missing, and it inspired him in two ways. First he realized that you could omit various parts like heads and arms and legs in order to really focus on capturing the main energy of the body.

Second, I think he saw that even stuff chiseled out of marble won’t last. A few wars, city sackings, a dark age or two, and you’re left with chunks, statues with their arms, legs, nose and nadgers shot off or broken off. I suspect that’s a lot of the reason he decided to cast most of his stuff in bronze. Bronze is much better enduring – look at all the spears and shields left nearly fully intact. We even named an epoch of history after the stuff. Plus it means multiple casts can be made. More than one copy means more than one chance that it survives. Yeah, Rodin was a smart guy, and his art will probably outlast most of the artifacts from our civilization.

It made me think about my stuff. My art is the other end of the spectrum, so ephemeral as to be completely intangible, a moving pattern of light on the wall that only lasts as long as the camera, laptop and projector are plugged in, running the right program and pointed in exactly the right direction. Too much light or darkness can destroy it. Not only does it not survive a civilization collapse, it doesn’t even survive to the end of the evening.

I gotta start working in bronze.

4 comments for this entry:

  • W A Morrison

    On the other hand…

    I read a story once (believe it was SF, although very well done) about a culture that believed that only the ephemeral was truly beautiful and ‘worthy’. The story described really marvelous work done, then shown, then destroyed. It really struck me.

    Also, consider the work of Andy Goldsworthy. He photographs and videotapes his work. Are these ever as beautiful at the original ephemeral assembly/event? No way.

    The experience, and what it leads to in the observer’s lives, is what is enduring. The experience changes everything.

  • W A Morrison

    For example…

    That lightbulb that appeared above Le Penseur was very ephemeral, yet look how it affected you! You were there! The mere story of it could become a new verbal tradition!

  • C R Morrison

    I think that story was in Aboriginal SF. If so, we still have it, stored in a box in the basement.

  • shannon

    I can’t wait to see what you do with plutonium-alloyed bronze. 🙂

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