Rodin : A Biography

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This biography of Rodin attempts to fill the puzzling gaps in his life and describes in detail the poverty of his youth, his many love affairs, friendships and enmities, his controversial public life, and his lifelong struggle to gain official recognition of his talents and achievements. The author attempts to convey the tone of the modernist era in which Rodin lived. He also makes reference to many of the famous figures who surrounded Rodin after his early successes, such as Goncourt, Zola, Balzac, Gide, Renoir, R.L.Stevenson, Debussy, Oscar Wilde, Gustav Mahler and George Bernard more

Product details

  • Paperback | 751 pages
  • 156 x 234mm
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford Paperbacks
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 48 pp b&w illustrations, bibliography, index
  • 0192826123
  • 9780192826121

Review Text

A vibrant biography of the great French sculptor (the first in over half a century) by a contributing editor of Connoisseur and author of Prophets Without Honor (1979). With all the naturalistic detail and color of canvases by his subject's contemporaries, Zola and Monet, Grunfeld chronicles Rodin's rocky career: his birth to poor parents in hard-times Paris; his early struggles with the ossified officialdom of the Ecole des Beaux Arts; his happy six years' apprenticeship in Belgium (with its dual catalysts of Rubens and Flemish light); his epiphanic visitation to Italy and the shrine of Michelangelo; and, finally, the trials and tribulations of his later years, when, publicly, his commissioned monuments caused riots in the streets, and privately, his Rabelaisian appetite for female flesh - the passionate "need to touch" that accounts in no small part, Grunfeld notes, for the beckoning sensuality, the "touch. me" tactility of his sculpture - involved the satyrical "priapatriarch of the Paris art World" in countless amatory imbroglios. That this exhaustive catalogue is never dull is something of a feat: from an unshaped mass of documentary material quarried from as far afield as America, England, and France, Grunfeld's Rodin, modeled in high relief against his place and time, emerges not so much a statuary monument as a three-dimensional man. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Table of contents

The need to touch; the bust in the attic; a higher class of employer; my savage muse; a lion in the sheepfold; the thaw; Prometheus unbound; a season in hell; Rodin in love; beholde here we sixe; a tempest in the offing; the colossus; 1900; liberation; the Sultan of Meudon; in Rodin's studio; le crepuscule d'un more

Rating details

41 ratings
4 out of 5 stars
5 27% (11)
4 49% (20)
3 22% (9)
2 2% (1)
1 0% (0)
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