Monday, 23 August 2021

'The making of Rodin'

 In July I went to see this exhibition of 'The making of Rodin' at the Tate Modern. It wasn't a large exhibition and did not have many of  Rodin's sculptures. Instead it showed how his sculptures materialised from his original ideas. Rodin worked principally by modelling in clay. It was only once he had achieved success that he could afford to have multiple plaster casts of his clay models. These allowed him to alter and revise his works many times.

The Burghers of Calais. In 1346-7, the French port of Calais was besieged by King Edward III of England. he agreed to spare the people of the town if six of their leaders surrendered to him with ropes around their necks, ready to be executed. Eustache de Saint-Pierre and five citizens volunteered for the task. They were ultimately spared. In 1885 Rodin was asked to create a monument to Eustache de Saint-Pierre. Rodin decided to depict the collective sacrifice of the group rather than one hero.
The burghers were first modelled unclothed. Fabric tunics were dipped in plaster and draped over the nude sculptures. This allowed the withered outline of the bodies to be seen clearly beneath the garments.

This is the bronze cast of The Burghers which I saw at an exhibition in 2013.

The Thinker was originally conceived as part of The Gates of Hell monumental bronze doors commissioned for a proposed Museum Decorative Arts in Paris. Rodin planned an assembly of 180 figures inspired by Dante's Inferno. Ultimately plans for the museum fell through and the gates were never completed. However it provided Rodin with a large number of figures that he could rework and repurpose. In 1888 Rodin developed the Thinker as an independent work  originally modelled in clay and then cast in plaster. The result could then be copied, resized,  and transposed to bronze or marble. This figure is coated plaster.. 

Study for The Thinker

Left foot of  The Thinker on a pedestal with foliage 1903.

Balzac. A plaster study of nude with large belly, without head, the left arm bent behind the back.

Balzac. Final study for the head in plaster.

Balzac. Coated plaster

Study for dressing gown of Balzac in plaster

Balzac. Final study in plaster.

Rodin used drawing to study movement and the internal dynamics of the body. Rather than making his sitters strike a pose he would ask them to move freely around the studio.

During the making of the Gates of Hell Rodin built up a collection of individually modelled heads, arms and legs. Small hands especially filled draw after draw in his studio

Just outside the exhibition rooms is this sculpture of The Kiss. This is one of three full scale versions made in Rodin's lifetime. Like all his works in marble it was produced by craftspeople in his workshop rather than the artist himself. The lovers are Paolo Malatesta and Francesca da Rimini who were murdered by Francesca's husband. This sculpture was purchased by The Tate in 1953.

Sharing with Our World Tuesday

Friday, 20 August 2021

Kew Gardens in the Summer

 Come and enjoy a walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. No other words are necessary.

Monday, 9 August 2021



Walking through Hackney, East London I spotted these seats outside a coffee bar. They looked like sacks of coffee beans. I was really surprised when I got up close.

They weren't soft at all but were made of concrete! Did give me a laugh though as I was totally fooled.

Although a densely populated area, it was good to see lots of greenery.

Thursday, 5 August 2021


 I am on holiday in Devon this week with my daughter and grandchildren. We have rented this beautiful house overlooking the village of Westward Ho! Yes it really does have an exclamation mark after its name. The name comes from the title of Charles Kingsley's novel Westward Ho! (1855) which was set in nearby Bideford.

This is the view from the back of the house.

From the front of the house we have a view of the beach so we can tell when the tide is out which is handy.

It's a lovely sandy beach,  perfect for the children .

The only downside is that I broke my foot the second day we were here! I was just taking the recycling out to the bin and missed a step.  Very efficient A and E hospital in the local town of Barnstable with wonderful staff who got me upright again with the aid of an air boot. So grateful they didn't put me in a plaster cast as having to use crutches is a pain. This is the third time I have broken a metatarsal. Twice on the left foot and once on the right.

I feel so sorry for my daughter who is supposed to be having a rest instead of which she is having to do all the driving and running around after the children.