Paris celebrates Valentine’s Day at the Rodin Museum with a «Soirée Love» (dedicated evening), dedicated to «celebrating», until midnight, the drawings, sculpture and very intimate writings of one of the great patriarchs of modern sculpture, Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), devoted to the most carnal eroticism.
The erotic footprint in Rodin’s work is well known and reasonably well studied, from very early.
The same museum has dedicated successive thematic exhibitions to that central theme in the work of the creator. The idea of ”celebrating” Valentine’s day returning to that much more intimate face of Rodin is intended to be an event for the national and international public passing through Paris.
The erotic / loving evening proposed by the Rodin Museum begins, of course, with «The Kiss», a large-format sculpture, known, appreciated and always admired.
After that introduction, the celebration of Valentine’s Day will continue to gleam, through memory, the sensual works directly or indirectly related to Rodin’s best known love, Camille Claudel. The two great artists had a very deep sentimental and sensual relationship.
It is often said that Rodin’s “Eternal Spring” is “inspired” in his passionate relationship with Camille Claudel, to whom he consecrated other works of diverse importance, always related to the revelation, admiration and exaltation of female intimacy. The Claudel / Rodin relationship ended badly, with several devastating tragedies for her.
The disturbing details
Camille Claudel passionately loved Rodin, had several children of his and asked him to be his wife, getting married. Rodin behaved with a wicked lightness: he did not recognize his children, he did not want to marry, moving away from his lover in tragic and devastating terms for her.
The Rodin Museum will not “get into” such disturbing details, of course. But those traces, inconfessable, are present for the visitor who wishes to go beyond mere passing contemplation.
Prolonged prologues will serve as an introduction to the rest and profuse Rodin’s erotic legacy, not just sculptural. Between 1890 and 1910, at least, the artist devoted a considerable part of his work, as a cartoonist, to gloss the figure and feminine intimacy in its most disturbing details and positions.
Rodin was not only an erotic sculptor, of course. But that dimension has a seminal importance in the rest of his work.
The very intimate and unknown drawings, for many decades, are not only “erotic”: they also illuminate a “geometric” fascination with the “origin of the world” that also fascinated Courbet. And the succession of torsos and naked bodies have much of “prologue” to the disappearance of the human figure in the abstract sculpture that would come much later, with Henry Moore, among others. Thus, the opportunistic and advertising dimension of the “celebration” of Valentine’s Day will also be a good time to review one of the most fruitful matrices of contemporary sculpture. .