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The Defense or The Call to Arms, large model
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
The best way for sculptors to get their work known and gain commissions is to participate in competitions. In 1879, Rodin took part in a competition held by the Préfecture de la Seine for a monument to the Defense of Paris, commemorating the siege of the city in 1870. The sculptor drew his inspiration for the figure of the wounded soldier from the Christ in Michelangelo’s Pietà (on display at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in Florence); the winged genius was modeled on François Rude’s sculpture La Marseillaise at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Although Rodin’s contribution was rejected, he continued to exhibit it, hoping to find a destination for the work. In 1912, he had it enlarged to twice its original size. In 1916, the Dutch committee of the League of Neutral States commissioned him for a monument to commemorate the defense of Verdun. The curator Léonce Bénédite suggested using The Defense again, enlarged to four times its size; Rodin’s assistant Henri Lebossé enlarged the work in 1917-18 and it was cast by Alexis Rudier in 1919. The monument was inaugurated in Verdun on August 1, 1920. The foundry plaster, still showing traces of the yellowish release agent used to remove it from the mold, is on display at the Musée Rodin in Meudon.
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Musée Rodin - Meudon, plaster gallery
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Completion date :
H. 452 cm; W. 240 cm; D. 167 cm
Inventory number :
© Photographic Agency of musée Rodin - Jérome Manoukian
- The Defense or The Call to Arms, large model(zip, 404.2 ko)