Date of Creation:
Without this strict training the artist was able to develop a much freer and more emotional style that would essentially be the making of his work. The Thinker is certainly a product of this unusual artistic development.
Rodin's The Thinker was originally part of The Gates of Hell which was completed on commission in 1882. What became known as The Thinker was originally intended to represent the poet Dante as he contemplated writing The Divine Comedy, on which The Gates of Hell was based.
When Rodin created this figure separately from the original work it lost its association with Dante and has become known all over the world as a symbol of philosophy and knowledge.
The Thinker in a way that mirrors the heroes of Michelangelo. The nude figure is muscular, taunt, and valiant. This demonstrates to the viewer the high regard with which Rodin held Dante and creative thinkers in general.
The seating of the figure is interesting as it immediately invokes the contemplative mood of this piece that would have been hard to create were the man stood up or looking out into the distance. The hunched torso is simple but adds to the sense of power that is apparent but by no means threatening. Rodin's brilliance at representing the character and feeling of his sitters is beautifully displayed here.
Often completing preliminary sketches and models, Rodin would then leave the carving of the full size marble to one of his assistants. Finally, the artist would take control of the work to add finishing touches and make sure that the piece fitted his exacting standards. This process is how The Thinker would have been developed.
The Thinker was originally made in a much smaller form and when it was produced as a separate sculpture it was originally created in plaster. Bronze casts have been produced from the original ever since its completion. As Rodin became more successful he began to employ a host of assistants, all of whom had specific jobs to perform.
Many of the bronze copies, as well as the original plasters for this piece have been displayed in a central position so that visitors can see it from every conceivable angle.
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