Rodin’s bronzes were impressive. They were harsh and beautiful at the same time. Their rough texture made you feel the emotional state of the subject (love, passion, sadness, tension). I wanted to touch one. Run my hands over it, feel the smoothness, the bumps and try to imagine what he was thinking while sculpting it. Not touching was torture.
His subjects seemed more real than a Michelangelo. Don’t get me wrong, seeing a real Michelangelo will be a dream come true, but his subjects are the embodiment of human perfection. Rodin’s are almost grotesque in comparison. The feet and hands are way too large and everything looks harsh. It’s like Rodin’s pieces are the working class to Michelangelo’s upper class.
After seeing the exhibit, I wished I had the talent to sculpt. To take a big piece of clay and chip away at it to create something (besides a smaller piece of clay). I would love to sculpt the human form. But sculpting is all about removal and I cannot do that. I’ve tried many times, and it’s just not something I can figure out. I guess I’m more about addition. I have been blessed with the ability to look at a blank canvas and add to it to form an image, but never have I been able to subtract. Maybe that’s the difference between painters and sculptors. When you paint, you add. When you sculpt, you subtract. You have to chip away to form your image.
Back in high school I would take clay, form individual pieces and try to stick them together. It always ended in disaster. Oh well.
If you ever get a chance to see a Rodin exhibit, do it. You will not be disappointed. Just don’t touch! (Or at least not when security is watching.)