WAG Unveils Rodin’s The Thinker - One of the Most Recognized Sculptures in the World
Winnipeg, Manitoba, December 16, 2016: The Winnipeg Art Gallery received an early holiday present when Auguste Rodin’s monumental sculpture The Thinker arrived last week. One of the most recognized sculptures in the history of art, The Thinker complements the Starting with Rodin exhibition currently on view at the WAG.
The Thinker depicts a colossal male nude figure seated on a rock with his chin resting on one hand. The sculpture is one of the bronze casts produced posthumously from the original plaster molds with the permission of the Rodin Museum in Paris. A private collector offered to lend the sculpture to the WAG after learning of the Gallery’s Rodin exhibition.
“This loan of Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker is an incredible gift to receive just in time for the holidays!” says Dr. Stephen Borys, WAG Director & CEO. “We are thrilled to share this amazing work of art with our visitors – giving people a chance to come face to face with one of the most famous artistic images in the world. It’s definitely worth putting The Thinker on the ‘to do’ list for family and friends.”
Originally named The Poet, Rodin, considered to be father of modern sculpture, created the work as the central figure in his monumental sculptural commission, The Gates of Hell. A few years later, in 1902, he produced a much larger version (double in size to the original) making it into an independent work. Scholars have debated the identity or source for the figure, suggesting it might be Dante, the biblical Adam, or the artist himself.
The Thinker was first exhibited in front of the Panthéon in Paris and then later moved to the Hôtel Biron, now the Rodin Museum. Foundry workers named the work The Thinker because of its likeness to Michelangelo’s statue of Lorenzo de Medici in Florence.
Given it’s enormous size (close to 10 feet high when installed on its pedestal), The Thinker will be presented on its own in the WAG’s Skylight Gallery. The bronze is a wonderful counterpart to the Starting with Rodin exhibition in the Mezzanine Gallery, which brings together nearly 30 sculptures from the Gallery’s permanent collection. This exhibition reflects on the lasting influence of Rodin, and features the WAG’s recently acquired Danaïd, another major bronze by Rodin, as well as works by other artists inspired by the 19th-century French sculptor.
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