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Example research essay topic: Auguste Rodin – 1,053 words Essay

… otifs of the Renaissance masters, but a highly
personal, intoxicating memory of what it was like
to experience great art” (Lampert 12-13). Early on
in the year of 1877, Rodin was accused of being an
imposter. The Salon claimed that he had taken a
statue and just molded right over it with new
material. When Rodin found out what he was being
accused of, he rushed to the press and had
pictures taken to prove that he was not an
imposter, and to prove that the sculpture was not
exactly like the human body. Finally, the Salon
concluded that it was not the same thing and Rodin
said, “I have learned how to use it [bronze
casting].” Rodin returned to Paris in late1877,
when a death occurred in the family.

Rodin had
lost his mother, and now his father had gone blind
and was beginning to turn senile. If that were not
enough, his son, from his common-law wife Rose
(who had returned), was almost completely
retarded. Some say that it is possible that he
suffered a head injury when he fell from a
two-story window as a young baby. Even though his
son was dying, Rodin attempted to give his son
drawing lessons, but his son appeared to ignore
him. Throughout Auguste Rodin’s work, one can see
the similarities between his work and
Michelangelo’s work. One can assume that after one
man studies another great man, traits and ideas
will shine through the artists’ work.

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The Age of
Bronze resembles Michelangelo’s Dying Slave by the
posture that the two statues share. The two men
are twisted in the same fashion, as if they are
“frozen” and sculpted just as the artist saw them.
One leg of each statue has its knee bent, both
heads are looking forward, and the arm is raised
in the air. “But there the similarity ends. The
Slave is wearing sinking; Rodin’s youth seems on
the point of awakening, soon to stride forth with
fresh energy” (Hale 51). Rodin’s Crouching Woman
resembles many characteristics from Michelangelo’s
Crouching Youth. The Crouching Woman, created
between 1880-1882, looks as if she has eternal

This is given away by the way her knees
are bent, implying that she may be helpless, she
wants to be pitied, or she is tired. Without the
way the figure is positioned, from first
impression, she looks like she is a tribal woman
or a woman who works hard and is ready to give in.
“The tribal woman, uncontaminated by conventional
sense of property but not necessarily virginal.
Rodin may have been tempted for years to place a
model in the pose of Michelangelo’s Crouching
Youth” (Lampert 57-61). Lastly, squeezing of the
breast “suggests that she gave birth and is
nursing a child”(Lampert 205). The similarities
between the two statues is easier to see than the
differences. Both figures heads are tilted the
same way. Both knees are bent and intertwined with
her own arms; while one hand holds one foot.

women have clear muscle definition, but the facial
expression is just like the muscle definition,
obvious that there are no emotions to show.
Lastly, both sculptures are left in an
un-sculptured stone for a base. Two of Rodin’s
sculptures resemble many of Michelangelo’s pieces;
Rodin’s Vase des Titans, resembles Michelangelo’s
Igundi, Night and Day. The figures of the vase are
positioned in the same way as well as posed in the
same fashion. The man-like figures have the same
muscle contortions that show a sense of muscle
strain, just like the men in Michelangelo’s work.
“Rodin made a four seated Titans each measuring
only 30cm, their back bent to support a jardiniere
bowl. The poses are taken in essence from the
contrapuntal figures of Michelangelo’s Igundi and
his Night and Day” (Lampert 18). The sculpture of
the Reclining Titans resembles the same works of
Michelangelo, the Igundi, which is on the Sistine
Chapel ceiling.

Both sets of men have a sexual
appeal because of the way that their legs are
together and then apart. Once again,
Michelangelo’s work can be seen in Rodin’s Faun
and Child. The Faun and Child was designed in
December 1882, and is almost a replica of
Michelangelo’s sketch of the prophet Jechonius.
Both adult figures have their heads looking back,
as if both guardian and child are in danger.
Secondly, the guardian is holding the child with
his/her left arm. Lastly, it seems as though the
children are either reaching or looking at
something that they yearn for. There is not much
information about how Michelangelo influenced
Rodin’s work of the Bibi bust; which soon was the
head for The Man with the Broken Nose. “Rodin
seems to be haunted by the Michelangelo when he
produced the bust of Bibi as a kind of allegory of
the endurance of mankind” (Hale 43).

Lastly, The
Three Shadows is one that I find very interesting.
One says: “the influence of Michelangelo on
Rodin’s Adam is clear enough: not only is the
contortion familiar but so too is the gesture of
the right hand with pointing finger. The Shade, a
variation of Adam, is considerably more original:
the left arm hangs clear of the body, the spine
becomes a deep groove and the neck is bent so
radically that it forms a straight line with the
shoulder giving the subject more of the denatured
presence of the Shades who appeared in the tiny
drawings” (Lampert 205-206). Rodin was a very
talented artist, sculptor, and thinker. He was
able to make people see things the way that he saw
them, and even though it was tough getting
started, he prevailed and was able to live
happily; considering what a hard life he had.
Rodin died in November 1917 and his common-law
wife, Rose, died in February of 1917. Rodin died
with having completed over 400 sculptures and
7,000 drawings. Finally, two of Rodin’s most
famous pieces of work were finally shown in the
Salon in 1878, The Man with the Broken Nose and
the Age of Bronze.

Bibliography: Cunningham,
Lawrence and John Reich. Culture and Values: A
Survey of the Western Humanities. Vol. 2, 4th
Edition. Forth Worth: Harcourt Brace College
Publishers, 1998. Hale, William Harlan and the
Editors of Time-Life Books.

The World of Rodin:
1840-1917. Virginia: Time-Life Books, 1978.
Lampert, Catherine. Rodin: Sculpture and Drawings.
Hong Kong: Kwong Fat Offset Printing Co. Ltd.,

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