Victor Hugo three quarters

Victor Hugo three quarters

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Title: Victor Hugo three quarters.

Author : RODIN Auguste (1840 - 1917)

Creation date : 1884

Date shown: 1884

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Drypoint engraving

Storage location: Rodin Museum website

Contact copyright: © Rodin Museum, Parissite web

Picture reference: G.7814

Victor Hugo three quarters.

© Rodin Museum, Paris

Publication date: June 2012

Historical context

Tribute to an author of the republican pantheon
Unlike Baudelaire or Balzac, whom he did not know, Rodin wanted to meet Hugo, of whom he painted the portrait he dedicated: "To the illustrious master" in 1883. The one who was to serve as the setting for the temple of the Republic failed to find between 1909 and 1935, as another destination, the garden of the Palais-Royal.

Image Analysis

What is a portrait?
The circumstances were singular because the poet, who had already posed successfully for great sculptors like David d´Angers several times, was too old to submit again with Rodin to this new experience. But the poet opened his home to him on Avenue d'Eylau, and Rodin had to adapt to these insurmountable difficulties for an ordinary sculptor. He then had to do what was not his habit. For exceptional events, exceptional gait: draw before sculpting to better understand the morphology of the face, forehead, penetrating gaze, movement of hair and beard. Rodin was the last to engrave after his bust when he had started by drawing many sketches. He chooses the drypoint technique. Two prints made the success of this portrait, one of the poet seen from three quarters, the other where he is seen from the front.
Each drypoint comprises several known states, seven or eight, and each state several proofs, the number of which is unknown to us for Rodin. We are here before a test of the second state.
On the same engraving are grouped three faces of the writer, one powerful, expressive and eternal, in accordance with the legend, the other, lower right, more realistic, tormented and less flattering, and a third, on the left, atypical, inverted, resembling a sort of draft and undoubtedly coming from a drawing which Rodin carried over to copper.


A technique at the service of wide distribution
The success and dissemination of this engraving in its various states were very important. Engraving and sculpture are multiple arts and Rodin did not hesitate to disseminate them in exhibitions, magazines such as The Artist in 1885, Letters and the Arts in September 1889 or The studio in March 1903, museums and collectors. The quality of this print reveals to us that Rodin was not only a sculptor but also a draftsman and an engraver.

  • writers
  • portrait
  • Rodin (Auguste)
  • Hugo (Victor)


Claudie JUDRIN, Antoinette LE NORMAND-ROMAIN and Jacques VILAIN Rodin: the museum and its collections Paris, Scala. 1996.Ruth BUTLER Rodin, the solitude of genius Paris, Gallimard-Musée Rodin, 1998.

To cite this article

Claudie JUDRIN, "Victor Hugo of three quarters"