French sculptor-Auguste-René Rodin was born 12th November 1840. Although Rodin is generally considered the progenitor of modern sculpture, he did not set out to rebel against the past. He was schooled traditionally, took a craftsman-like approach to his work, and desired academic recognition, but was never accepted into Paris’s foremost school of art.
From the unexpected realism of his first major figure ( inspired by his 1875 trip to Italy) to his unconventional memorials, Rodin possessed a unique ability to model a complex, turbulent, deeply pocketed surface in clay. However, at first many of his most notable sculptures and original works were roundly criticized during his lifetime, because they modeled the human body with realism, and celebrated individual character and physicality, rather than using the traditional themes of mythology and allegory, where figure sculptures were decorative, formulaic, or highly thematic.
Rodin was sensitive to the controversy surrounding his work, but refused to change his style. Gradually though, successive his works began to be appreciated by the government and the artistic community and his reputation grew until he became the pre-eminent French sculptor of his time. By 1900, he was a world-renowned artist. Wealthy private clients sought Rodin’s work after his World’s Fair exhibit, and he kept company with a variety of high-profile intellectuals and artists. He married his lifelong companion, Rose Beuret, in the last year of both their lives.
Rodin sadly passed away on 17th November 1917. His sculptures suffered a decline in popularity after his death in 1917, but within a few decades, his legacy solidified and he remains one of the few sculptors widely known outside the visual arts community.