Another museum that we’ve gone to while in Paris was Musée Rodin. It’s a museum somewhere in the heart of Paris, dedicated to the works of Auguste Rodin, the famous French sculptor.
Here’s a confession — before visiting the museum I had no idea what Musee Rodin was and had minimal appreciation of sculpted works. I was just adhering to the itinerary that Reza build, as it is a museum that’s covered under our Paris Museum Pass.
There, though, I learned a lot more about the history of the museum and this man called Rodin.
Auguste Rodin is known as the father of modern sculpture. Those days, most artists were transfixed with works showcasing what was ideal e.g. decorative and mythical sculptures. Rodin had more interest in keeping it real by molding realistic sculptures.
Back in the days Rodin’s works were criticized, but he stood his ground, made a breakthrough and became a legend.
This building that’s currently hosting most of his works used to be called Hotel Biron, a private mansion built in the 18th century. Here’s where you can have a taste of 18th century French architecture — old parquet floor, a marble staircase, ceilings carefully decorated.
It used to be where Rodin lived — he initially rented a few rooms and used it as his sculpting workshop and showrooms in 1908. By 1911, he ended up having the building all to himself. Before Rodin left, he donated his works and entire art collection to the French state, in the condition that the state would turn Hotel Biron into a museum dedicated to his works.
The museum now houses thousands of sculptures, paintings, photographs and ceramics. It mostly displayed Rodin’s works, but also had paintings from Van Gogh and Monet (from Rodin’s private collection).
Outside the mansion, are the gardens where some of Rodin’s famous sculptures are displayed e.g. The Thinker.
When we were there, there were rooms dedicated to the works of Camille Claudel — Rodin’s student, muse, model and mistress. Camille Claudel is probably the finest sculptor the world has seen (seen above, one of her more known works, the Sakuntala), but as a female in the arts industry, she wasn’t as appreciated. Her breakup after a long relationship with Rodin added to her distress. Soon she was living a secluded life, creating sculptures and later destroying them. She was forcefully by her family members sent to a mental asylum and died there.
Despite not being very appreciative of art, we enjoyed ourselves at the museum!
One of the things we realized during the visit, is how important art is to the French — it’s how they leave their mark, it’s how they’re remembered (at least that’s how we non-experts see it). Like the kings who acquired arts from different corners of the world and like Rodin, who gave away his art collection, in return to be remembered and admired until today.
So if you have time to spare, read up and drop by Musee Rodin to have some quality time at Rodin’s place and appreciate his works.
Would definitely return when I have the chance.
You can reach Musee Rodin by taking the subway to M13 Varenne. Read more about Musee Rodin.