Exhibition: The Master Sculptor Rodin in Istanbul

13 June 2006
Exhibition: The Master Sculptor Rodin in Istanbul
The Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum (SSM) will host works by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin starting from June 13, 2006. The exhibition titled “The Master Sculptor Rodin in Istanbul” comprises 203 artworks selected from the collection of the Rodin Museum in Paris. The exhibition features the artist’s bronze, plaster and marble sculptures, archival photographs, many drawings as well as some pieces from his collection of antique-style statues.

Among nearly 100 sculptures that will be exhibited by SSM, which aims to promote wider public appreciation of the art of sculpture through the works of a renown master sculptor, are Rodin’s masterpieces like The Thinker, The Kiss, The Burghers of Calais, The Monument to Balzac and The Walking Man. In addition to 18 statues and many other diassembled-assembled pieces drawn from The Gates of Hell, on which Rodin worked for long years but could not succeed to complete, 20 antique-style statues from Rodin’s special collection are displayed at the exhibition.

The bronze horse statue, after which the Horse Mansion was named and which has been saluting the Bosphorus since 1952, has been replaced with the Monument to Victor Hugo for the first time on the occasion of the exhibition. The statue of the renown poet, writer and thinker Victor Hugo made by Rodin is 1.85 m in height and 2.85 m in width.

The photographs and sketches exhibited along with the other works enable visitors to track the artist’s journey from his early works to his most famous masterpieces, and also shed light on the artist as a sketcher and a collector. The bilingual exhibition catalogue, which was prepared in Turkish and English, and whose texts were compiled by Samih Rifat, briefs on Rodin’s life and artistic journey. The exhibition also proposes a set of events such as conferences, sculpture workshops and training programs for the kids.

The exhibition, which is sponsored by Akbank and held in cooperation with the Rodin Museum in Paris and the French Cultural Center, will be open until September 3, 2006.

The Artist

Born in Paris on November 12, 1840, François-Auguste-René Rodin discovered sculpture after he attended La Petite École, a special school for drawing and mathematics, and began to improve his drawing skill. He rented his first workshop in 1864 and met Rose Beuret, aged 20. In 1871, he exhibited his works in Belgium for the first time. In 1875, he started to work on a life-size human body, which he called The Bronze Age. In 1882, he sculptured the figures of Adam, Eve and the Thinker. After a while, he met Camille Claudel who soon became his mistress and biggest rival. In 1883, he created his Monument to Victor Hugo, and was commissioned by the City Council of Calais to sculpture the Monument to the Burghers of Calais two years later. The following year, he completed The Kiss. In 1888, the state commissioned The Kiss in marble for the Universal Exhibition. In 1889, he exhibited together with Claude Monet, the famous French painter and one of the founders of impressionism. In 1895, he bought the Villa des Brillants in Meudon and started to build up his collection of paintings and antique statues. The Rodin Pavilion was inaugurated at the Alma Square in Paris on the occasion of the Universal Exhibition of 1900, and a major exhibition of Rodin took place in Prague in 1902. In 1904, the first exhibition of a large-scale plaster of The Thinker took place at the International Society in London, then a bronze version of it at the Salon de Paris. The Thinker was placed in front of the Panthéon in 1906, which was later taken to Hôtel Biron (now the Rodin Museum) in 1908. The French National Assembly decided to establish the Rodin Museum in the Hôtel Brion in memory of the artist who handed over his collections to the state through three successive donations. On January 29, 1917, Rodin married Rose Beuret. Rose died on February 14, Valentine’s Day. Died on November 17, Rodin was buried next to Rose in the garden of Villa des Brillants in Meudon. Their tomb is dominated by The Thinker.