Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Musée Rodin

Straight after my art history lecture last week, my classmates and I were invited to see in real life what we had been learning about: the sculptures of artist Auguste Rodin. I made sure I wrapped up extra warm for the trip, 5 layers fyi. We're not getting nearly as much rain here as in the UK at the moment (I hear that poor old Kent has had lots of flooding), but it has turned very very chilly here in Paris.

We bussed it over to the 7th arondissement to the Musée. The sculptures are set in a beautiful garden; as I've said, the weather was verrrrry cold but the sun did look beautiful shining through the trees and making the skin of the sculptures twinkle.

Everyone was very excited to get up close to this guy, The Thinker. We all crowded round and there as a flurry of cameras as everyone tried to get the best angle to capture a snap of his contemplations. Apparently this was so controversial when it was originally exhibited that someone even tried to saw his head off... Thankfully they didn't manage it!

Peter the lecturer knew so much about each of the works, and took us for a walking tour of the whole garden, telling us the history and meaning behind each sculpture. They were all unique but the two things that nearly all of them had in common was that they mostly had a literary basis, and they also ruffled lots of feathers when they were originally exhibited.

Rodin's nudes are so realistic that at the time he was actually accused of casting actual people in bronze inside them!

The park is very serene and peaceful. Couples, families and groups like us all drifted around taking in the surroundings and walking in between the different artworks. There are plenty of different zones to the garden, with little water satires, clusters of trees and rose bushes.  It's somewhere I would come back to to have another look at the sculptures and also to escape the hustle and bustle of the streets. Although it is central, it is very peaceful and quiet here.

Our tour finished at Rodin's famous Gates of Hell, which is inspired by Dante's Inferno, and depicts the last judgement. It's not a particularly happy or relaxing piece, but it is fascinating I must say! I spent ages just looking at all the different elements of it.

It's really cool because you can actually see miniature versions of Rodin's larger sculptures incorporated in to the work. 

If you are in the 7th and fancy a little moment of quiet to enjoy some Rodin (don't forget you can get in free if you're under 26!), the museum, temporary exhibition and garden are open from 10am to 5.45pm daily, and open until 8.45pm on Wednesdays. It's closed on Mondays.

If I decide to do a paper on Rodin, which I might well do now, I will be back here all the time to study and also to soak up the lovely surroundings!

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