Paris: The Thinker Statue
Le Penseur, or The Thinker, is one of the most replicated works of art in the works. Rodin’s work has inspired people for over 100 years. This statuesque figure, often used as the icon for philosophy or mental disciplines, if features the classical style. Rodin’s work often uses human emotions like defeat, pain, and sorrow.
This statue is 2.2 meteres tall, creating a imposing figure as you approach it. Rodin’s characterist “rough” strokes gives the figure a sense of contemplation even in the face of terror.
The Thinker, which was originally titled “The Poet”, was commissioned by the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in 1880. It was commissioned to grace the entrance of the museum, which was meant to embody the 1321 work “The Divine Comedy”. The statue was originally meant to be the great Dante himself, pondering the “Gates of Hell”, but the statue evolved to become the larger than life piece of today. The museum never did open, and the gates were never completed.
In 1902, Roding created a full sized relief of the Thinker, but the casting would not be shown until 1904, and this was to paying audience only. A single casting was made later that year, by A.A. Hebrard for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, but it was rejected by Rodin as inferior. This statue now stands as the University of Louisville, in Kentucky.
Rodin first displayed his “Thinker” publically in 1906, when it became the property of Paris, France. It was displayed at the Pantheon, until it moved to its new home at the Rodin Museum in 1922.
In 1889, a small plaster statuette of the Thinker was exhibit in the Galerie Georges Petit in Paris. This statuette was believed to be made from an original work done nine years before. Standing at 27 inches, it was seen in the Musee d’Art et d’Histoire in Geneva, Switzerland. The more famous, large bronze casts of The Thinker were cast by Henri Labosse, under the supervision of Rodin.
The original cast of The Thinker actually travels the world, as it is placed on loan to museums worldwide. There are over twenty castings from the original mold that have found homes on several continents.