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Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Final Study for the Monument to Balzac

Artist:
Auguste Rodin (French, Paris 1840–1917 Meudon)
Founder:
Cast by Georges Rudier (French)
Date:
modeled 1897, cast 1972
Culture:
French
Medium:
Bronze
Dimensions:
Overall (wt. confirmed): 41 3/4 × 17 1/2 × 16 1/2 in., 114 lb. (106 × 44.5 × 41.9 cm, 51.7 kg)
Classification:
Sculpture-Bronze
Credit Line:
Gift of Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, 1984
Accession Number:
1984.364.15
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 800
In 1891 Rodin was commissioned to construct a posthumous monument to the illustrious literary figure Honoré de Balzac. It took the sculptor seven years to arrive at the final study from which this bronze was cast. Gaze fixed toward the horizon, a disheveled Balzac leans back, his body transformed by a shapeless oversize cloak into a dense and formidable monolith. Today Balzac’s shrouded figure is understood to be symbolic of the author’s imposing genius. Contemporary viewers, however, were baffled by its inarticulate form. The work provoked harsh criticism upon its debut in 1898, but Rodin defended it, explaining that "a man celebrated for his heart and mind should not be [represented by] his body."
Signature: On the base, at right front: A. Rodin N°1

Marking: On the back edge of the base: .Georges Rudier./Fondeur.Paris.

On the right edge of the base: © by musée Rodin 1972
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation (until 1984; to MMA)
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