Auguste Rodin French, 1840-1917


French sculptor Auguste Rodin was born in Paris in 1840. Showing early promise as a child, he studied painting at the Petite École but was rejected three times by the École des Beaux-Arts. After the tragic death of his sister, he abandoned art to join a Catholic order, although he was not suited to the role and soon returned to his true calling as a sculptor.


His first major work, The Age of Bronze, was created in Brussels. Inspired by a trip to Italy in 1875, Rodin’s new sculpture was so realistic that he was accused of having taken a cast. He made sure the next piece was much larger than life, but this was also received with negative criticism. Despite these initial setbacks, he gained notoriety, and by 1900 he was world-famous. His best-known sculptures The Kiss and The Thinker, started as designs for a commission depicting scenes from Dante’s Inferno, and now reside in the Rodin Museum, Paris.


In 1917, Rodin married the mother of his son after 53 years together. He died later the same year.