Saturday, June 2, 2018

"High Noon"

8 x 6"
oil on panel

It's been my observation that men really like this Portrait of Balzac by Auguste Rodin.  The sculpture stands in the large French Impressionism gallery in the Art Institute of Chicago, strikingly bolder than the oil paintings by Renoirs and Degas, to name a few.

The Portrait of Balzac was one of several bronze sculptures commissioned by a literary society in the 1890's, in honor of the famous French novelist Honore de Balzac.  Rodin immersed himself in studying the writer - reading all his books, visiting his birthplace and studying all known existing portraits.  It took Rodin seven years before he created this particular one - intending to stress Balzac's 'vitality and candor' in a full nude portrait that was immediately rejected by the literary society and the public at large.

This rejection, among others, didn't prevent Rodin from becoming the most famous artist in the world at the beginning of the 20th century.  He is best known for the marble sculpture The Kiss and the bronze, The Thinker.   Not to mention there's an entire museum in Philadelphia, the Rodin Museum, devoted to the man. 

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