Monday, October 24, 2011

Rodin's Sculpture Garden at Stanford

Took a visit to Stanford University in Palo Alto, California recently - I'd heard so much about French artist Auguste Rodin's sculpture garden there which houses a collection of his castings.   I've always thought of Rodin as an interesting character and, okay I'll admit it, I'm intrigued by the story of his collaboration/relationship with artist Camille Claudel. 

Stanford's Rodin Sculpture Garden was dedicated in 1985 and designed by architect Robert Mittelstadt to evoke the style in which Rodin exhibited his public art during his lifetime in Paris.  The garden fronts the Cantor Arts Center which houses a large collection of Rodin's work in bronze, plaster, ceramic, stone and wax.

The garden has a collection of Rodin's Burgher busts.

One large piece in the garden is "The Gates of Hell" which features scenes from Dante's InfernoThe Gates was created as a portal for Paris' future Museum of Decorative Arts (which was never built).  It looks a bit like a collection of miniature figure studies all stuck onto a giant set of cast doors.  There, his "Thinker" sits at the top of the gates, and you can see many of Rodin's future sculptures as studies on the Gates:  The Three Shades, and The Kiss, Ugolino, Fugit Amor, The Falling Man, and The Prodigal Son.
Detail from "The Gates of Hell"

And the famous "Burgher's of Calais"...
covered in blankets to protect against construction activity.