Monument to Balzac

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    Monument to Balzac

    Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)

    In 1891, the Société des Gens de Lettres commissioned Rodin to create a monument to the famous French author Honoré de Balzac. The sculptor worked on this project for eight years, presenting his final version of the monument at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in 1898. To capture the essence of the writer, who had died in 1850, Rodin used living lookalikes and all the images he could find. He made a large number of studies―some of which are on display at the Musée Rodin in Meudon―ranging from a Balzac dressed in a monk’s habit to a completely naked figure. His final choice, showing Balzac in his dressing gown, displeased the Société des Gens de Lettres which rejected it. After its poor reception at the Salon, the plaster was transported to Meudon where it was initially placed in the villa’s studio before being moved to the Pavillon de l’Alma. In 1908, it was taken outside to be photographed in the garden, where it remained for several years. The patinated plaster cast on display in the museum, comprising three sections, was used to make the final bronze statue.


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    Musée Rodin - Meudon, plaster gallery

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    Completion date :

    1898

    Dimensions :

    H. 275 cm; W. 121 cm; D. 129 cm

    Materials :

    Plaster

    Inventory number :

    S.3151

    Credits :

    © Photographic Agency of musée Rodin - Jérome Manoukian

    Resources

    Iconography

    • Balzac(zip, 1001.7 ko)