Le Christ et la Madeleine (c.1894)

Rodin, Auguste (1840-1917)

Le Christ et la Madeleine (Christ and Magdalene)
Plaster, wood, fabric, 84.5 x 74 x 44.2 cm
Musée RodinParis

© Agence photographique du musée Rodin – Jérome Manoukian

This is one of the rare testimonies that remains of a religious inspiration in Rodin. The work may correspond to the recovery of a first missing Christ, executed under the influence of the sculptor Augustin Préault (1809-1879) and falling within the romantic tradition.

To this thin and suffering Christ, whose too heavy head seems to tilt on the side, clings a woman, Madelene, who draws her origin from a figure of the damned conceived for The Gates of Hell, and became by the suite Meditation, muse of the Monument to Victor Hugo. The whole, translated into marble for Baron Thyssen around 1905, underlines as Rilke describes it, “the contrast of the two bodies, strongly imposed by the marble, (which) gives on the first stroke the impression of the boundless sadness which spreads about this subject”.

The symbolist character of the work is accentuated, while the sensuality of the female figure operates as a diversion of the subject. (MRP)


Rodin, Auguste (1840-1917)
Le Christ et la Madeleine
Museo Thyssen-BornemiszaMadrid