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Paris Sculptures: Inside the secret Musée Rodin

art history paris
Musee Rodin Meudon

Did you know that there are two different Musée Rodin in Paris?

The most well-known is the Hotel Biron, in the 7th arrondissement. This is a wonderful museum with an outdoor sculpture garden and a large collection of Rodin works in bronze, marble, and plaster, along with some works by his contemporaries (including Camille Claudel).

The second location is outside of Paris, and very few tourists (even art lovers!) will ever make the trek to visit it. It is located in Meudon, the former atelier and home of Rodin and his chosen burial place.

Let's have a look inside the museum.

Musee Rodin Meudon - entrance

This location is very calm with very few visitors present. There is a large outdoor space and multiple buildings. The large atelier houses a collection of original plaster works by Rodin. These are the fragile copies of the works in clay which were destined to be transformed into bronze or marble. To see them collected in this large space filled with natural light is an intimate way to experience Rodin’s sculptures.

Main collections Musee Rodin - plasters

Rodin worked in editions and used fragments and multiples to assemble new works. The multiples were a direct byproduct of the usual mold making and casting processes. However, he employed these fragments in new ways - for example: he would combine the head of one sculpture with the body of another to find entirely new compositions.

In the museum they have a display of limbs cast in plaster, showing this vital part of his creative process.

Plaster limbs

The museum displays a large collection of original plaster works.

Plaster of The Eternal Idol

Rodin purchased the brick and stone house in 1895 and called it la Villa des Brillants. By 1950, almost 50 people were employed there to produce his creative work, including sculpting and casting assistants.

Entering the ground and the atelier-museum - pathway to the house of Rodin.

Inside the house of the sculptor Rodin in Meudon

Musee Rodin Meudon is the chosen location of Rodin’s tomb and final resting place. He is buried with his wife Rose Beuret. The tomb is accompanied by a bronze cast of his famous sculpture The Thinker.

Resting place of Rodin on the grounds of the museum, with a bronze of the Thinker.

It is inspiring to follow the story of an artist who was rejected 3 times from art school, lived the first 40 years of his life in poverty and yet went on to create a highly successful sculpture atelier that produced a large number of monuments and countless smaller works.

He negotiated to donate his entire estate to the French state, and have his heritage preserved as a public museum.



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