British Museum - Rodin and the art of ancient Greece

Discover how ancient Greek sculpture inspired Rodin to set a radical new direction for modern art.
 
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Rising goddess, figure K from the east pediment of the Parthenon, about 438–432 BC. Marble © The Trustees of the British Museum

In 1881 the French sculptor Auguste Rodin visited London for the first time. On a trip to the British Museum, he saw the Parthenon sculptures and was instantly captivated by the beauty of these ancient Greek masterpieces.
Like many archaeological ruins, the Parthenon sculptures had been broken and weathered over centuries, but Rodin took inspiration from the powerful expression that they conveyed through the body alone. He even removed the heads and limbs from his own figures to make them closer to the broken relics of the past. By doing so, he created a new genre of contemporary art – the headless, limbless torso.
 
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Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), The Kiss, large version, after 1898, Plaster, cast from first marble version, of 1888–98 © Musée Rodin

A hundred years after his death, see a selection of Rodin’s works – including his iconic sculptures The Thinker and The Kiss – in a new light. This major exhibition will feature original plaster, bronze and marble examples of many of Rodin’s sculptures on loan from the Musée Rodin in Paris. For the first time, they will be shown alongside some of the Parthenon sculptures that the artist so admired, as well as selected objects from his own collection of antiquities.

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Unmounted youths preparing for the cavalcade, block from the north frieze of the Parthenon, about 438–432 BC, Marble, © The Trustees of the British Museum
 
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The Parthenon gallery in the British Museum, about 1890. Photograph. © The Trustees of the British Museum
 
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Rodin in his Museum of Antiquities at Meudon on the outskirts of Paris, about 1910. Photo: Albert Harlingue. Image © Musée Rodin


Start date: April 26, 2018
End date: July 29, 2018
Address: Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London
(see map below)
Visit the museum's website

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