The Hand of God

Artist: Auguste Rodin (French, Paris 1840–1917 Meudon)

Date: modeled ca. 1896–1902, commissioned 1906, carved ca. 1907

Culture: French

Medium: Marble

Dimensions: confirmed: 29 × 23 3/4 × 25 1/4 in., 508 lb. (73.7 × 60.3 × 64.1 cm, 230.4 kg)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Gift of Edward D. Adams, 1908

Accession Number: 08.210


Here, Rodin makes extraordinary use, both technical and allegorical, of the medium of marble. The material plays a key role in the sculpture, especially the underworked and roughly chiseled portions. A variation on the theme of birth and beginnings, the work presents Adam and Eve entwined in a fetal position and emerging from an amorphous mound of marble cradled in God’s hand. During a seminal trip to Italy in 1876, Rodin had encountered works by Michelangelo in which the figures similarly materialize out of rough stone, symbolizing the process of artistic creation itself.