Étude d’Honoré de Balzac (1891-1892)

Rodin, Auguste (1840-1917)

Étude d’Honoré de Balzac (Study of Honoré de Balzac)
Bronze, 52.7 x 39.4 x 32.4 cm
Cleveland Museum of ArtCleveland

In 1891 Rodin was commissioned to create a monument honoring the celebrated French writer Honoré de Balzac. The figure evolved through multiple stages over a seven-year period as Rodin explored different methods of conveying the author’s genius and personality. This bust is a study for the first version, in which the full figure stands upright with legs apart, arms crossed over his corpulent belly. Rodin’s unglamorous portrayal of a national hero shocked the public accustomed to idealized figures in public monuments. The final design was even more intensely criticized because Rodin reduced the body to a powerful, abstract mass intended to convey the symbolic essence of the writer’s creative vitality. (CMA)

See also:

• Balzac, Honoré de (1799-1850)