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Portrait of Balzac

A work made of bronze.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of bronze.

Date:

modeled 1893
(cast 1926/33)

Artist:

Auguste Rodin
French, 1840-1917

About this artwork

In 1891 Auguste Rodin was commissioned by a literary society to produce a posthumous monument to the French writer Honoré de Balzac. Over the course of seven years, the sculptor created numerous studies for the composition, including this deliberately ungainly nude portrait. A departure from the idealized classical bodies typical of public statuary, this study stresses Balzac’s vitality and candor through its bold modeling, imposing torso, and confident stance. For the finished statue, in which the writer appears enveloped in a robe, Rodin continued to test the boundaries of sculpture, presenting his subject as an almost abstract, monolithic form. That version provoked harsh criticism from the public and was rejected by the literary society when first exhibited in 1898.

Status

On View, Gallery 240

Department

Painting and Sculpture of Europe

Artist

Auguste Rodin

Title

Portrait of Balzac

Origin

France

Date

Modeled 1893

Medium

Bronze

Dimensions

127.6 × 73.7 × 59.7 cm (50 1/4 × 29 × 23 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Silvain and Arma Wyler

Reference Number

1957.529

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https://api.artic.edu/api/v1/artworks/6727/manifest.json

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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