Auguste Rodin (French, 18401917)
Terracotta; L. 11 5/8 in. (29.5 cm)
Gift of the sculptor, 1912 (12.13.1)
In his studies made of plaster, wax, and terracotta, Rodin often fought the burden of narrative to concentrate instead on some problem connected with the increasingly deep assaults that his sculpture tended to make on the human form. Sometimes distortions were due to accidents in the studio that triggered Rodin's imagination. Some were the results of the sculptor's efforts to render the physical effects of the extremes of old age, emotional stress or violent physical activity. Others, such as this torso, intended as a study for a marble tomb figure, are true fragments resulting from a working method peculiar to Rodin: the deliberate breaking apart of sculptures in order to reassemble the parts in new ways. The scars left by the removal of the head, arms, and legs, and the separation of the torso from its original base are permanently preserved in this terracotta torso.