The Age of Bronze (L'Age d'airain)

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

Founder: Cast by Alexis Rudier (French)

Date: modeled 1876, cast ca. 1906

Culture: French

Medium: Bronze

Dimensions: Overall (wt. confirmed): 72 in., 275 lb. (182.9 cm, 124.7 kg)

Classification: Sculpture-Bronze

Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. John W. Simpson, 1907

Accession Number: 07.127


Rodin’s breakout sculpture, The Age of Bronze caused a critical scandal for its extreme naturalism and ambiguous subject matter. Fashioned over a period of eighteen months and based on a live model, the sculpture depicts a suspended moment of human awakening, either to suffering or to joy. First exhibited in 1877 in Brussels with the title The Conquered Man (Le Vaincu [literal translation, "The Vanquished"]), it was displayed later the same year in Paris with its current title. Rodin promoted the work’s multiple interpretations, saying, "There are at least four figures in it."

This early bronze cast was donated to The Met by Kate Seney Simpson, a founder of the Rodin collection.