The Thinker by Rodin

<i>The Thinker</i> by Rodin

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  • The Thinker.

    RODIN Auguste (1840 - 1917)

  • The Thinker in front of the Pantheon. (anonymous photograph)

    RODIN Auguste (1840 - 1917)

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Title: The Thinker.

Author : RODIN Auguste (1840 - 1917)

Creation date : 1880

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 180 - Width 98

Technique and other indications: Also known under the titles: "The Poet", "The Thinker Poet" cast; bronze

Storage place: Rodin Museum website

Contact copyright: © Musée Rodin, Paris - Photo J. de Calan

Picture reference: S. 1295

© Musée Rodin, Paris - Photo J. de Calan

To close

Title: The Thinker in front of the Pantheon. (anonymous photograph)

Author : RODIN Auguste (1840 - 1917)

Creation date : 1906

Date shown: 1906

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Gelatin silver print

Storage place: Rodin Museum website

Contact copyright: © Rodin Museum, Parissite web

Picture reference: Ph 2881

The Thinker in front of the Pantheon. (anonymous photograph)

© Rodin Museum, Paris

Publication date: March 2016


How to read a sculpture


Historical context

"Offered to the people of Paris"
Great Thinker, still in plaster, was exhibited for the first time in London, in January 1904, then at the Salon of the National Society of Fine Arts in Paris, from April to June. Some of the criticism mocked him: "He's an enormous brute, a gorilla, a caliber, stupidly stubborn, who mulls a vengeance"; but enthusiasm prevailed and the magazine The Arts of Life launched a subscription whose proceeds were intended to place the work in a place in Paris.

Image Analysis

"The Poet, the Thinker": Dante or Rodin
Thought like any other abstract value has been represented until Rodin in the form of an allegory, the goddess Athena (Minerva for the Romans) having been reproduced indefinitely. With The Thinker, Rodin breaks with this academicism in a brilliant way: thought is now a real man who thinks hard. World-renowned work, The Thinker probably belongs to the first figures that Rodin modeled in 1880-1881 for The Gateway to Hell, where it was to occupy the center of the eardrum. It represents both Dante and Rodin, who contemplate the work inspired in the second by the poem of the first, Hell. Figured naked, it has a universal dimension.
The Thinker is one of the few figures created very early and very quickly, who traversed the artist's entire work without undergoing any modification other than enlargement. Despite the most traditional pose, the one that has always meant meditation, a powerful originality is evident. Due to the choice of the model, this one arises from the contrast between the athletic body of a man of action rendered with all the desired vigor, and the identity of the character, one of the kings of the spirit for Rodin who placed at the top of its scale of values ​​"pure thought [...] represented by the artist, the poet, the philosopher".


A symbol of democracy.
During the inauguration of Thinker in front of the Pantheon on April 21, 1906, Henri Dujardin-Beaumetz, Under-Secretary of State for Fine Arts, showed that Rodin admirably completed David d'Angers: at the foot of the pediment symbolizing "the effort of all by the image of more worthy ", The Thinker “Muscular like an athlete […], calm in his strength, because he will only put it at the service of the law [is the one] who, a hundred years ago, made avenging iron the tool of freedom, [ …] Who, through work, builds the modern world and wants it to be worthy of his long efforts. "But soon perceived, in a climate of political and social crisis, as a symbol of democracy, and become a meeting point for union demonstrations, The Thinker placed in front of the memory monument of the left (think of the ashes of Voltaire, Hugo, Zola who were transferred there) disturbed the official authorities and, in 1922, under the National Bloc, he was repatriated to the Rodin museum.

  • monuments
  • Paris
  • Rodin (Auguste)
  • sculpture


Rose-Marie MARTINEZ Rodin. The artist facing the state Paris, Nouvelles Editions Séguier, 1993, p. 1147-1155.Ruth BUTLER Rodin. The solitude of genius Paris, Gallimard-Musée Rodin, 1998, collective index, Exhibition catalog Rodin in 1900, the Alma exhibition Paris, RMN, 2001, (object n ° 113).

To cite this article

Antoinette THE NORMAND ROMAN, " The Thinker by Rodin "

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