Sculptor Auguste Rodin (02:55)
Rodin spent almost 30 years working on "The Gates of Hell." He waited until 1917 to exhibit the piece.
Rodin's Start in Sculpture (04:42)
In his 30s, Rodin worked in a sculptor's studio in Brussels. He thought presenting a piece to the Paris Salon in 1877 was his final chance to become a sculptor on his own. The Salon displayed his "Age of Bronze" sculpture but accused him of being a fraud.
Rodin's State Commissions (04:51)
As a way to apologize for how the Paris Salon treated him, the French arts minister commissioned two pieces from Rodin. It helped propel his career into the art world. He began working on the doorway for a new art museum in Paris, drawing inspiration from the Italian Renaissance.
Rodin's Italian Influences (03:00)
Rodin made preliminary sculptures for "The Gates of Hell," that incorporated elements from Italian Renaissance. The sculpture was based on Dante's "Divine Comedy" and the poet was the basis for Rodin's "The Thinker."
Early Days of "The Gates of Hell" (04:00)
In 1882, Rodin began constructing the gates in a government-provided studio. To avoid fraud allegations, he documented his progress using photography. He began it as a tool to see how changes to his work would look.
Funding and Movement (05:12)
As wild rumors about the gates circulated in the press, the French arts minister sent an inspector to Rodin's studio. He gave an unfavorable report and Rodin was forced to work quickly to keep his funding. Rodin wanted to capture movement within his sculptures.
Rodin's Love Affair (04:35)
Rodin had an affair with a 19-year-old art student working in his studio. He sculpted numerous versions of the adulterous couple from the "Divine Comedy" for the "The Gates of Hell." Many were not included, and one was exhibited on its own as "The Kiss."
Rodin Pushes Boundaries (08:17)
Rodin's work received criticism for its use of lust and sexuality; it avoided vulgarity. He created new techniques and broke many rules of sculpture.
Rodin and Secrecy (04:54)
Rodin worked on "The Gates of Hell" for five years without exhibition. One art critic, a friend of Rodin's, saw the piece and wrote about it, gaining the attention of the public and government. Rodin recreated many elements of the gates as standalone pieces.
World's Fair: 1900 (05:18)
Rodin had a pavilion and planned to debut "The Gates of Hell." The day before the fair began, he dismantled most of the piece to reflect how he had grown as an artist.
Artistic Growth (03:38)
In 1901, the French arts minister cancelled the museum project and ended the gates' commission. Through working on the piece, Rodin had transformed himself as an artist and laid much of the groundwork for the modern art movement.
Credits: Rodin: Divino Inferno (00:37)
Credits: Rodin: Divino Inferno
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