1848 – 1907
Industrial Revolution II

Rodin's The Gates of Hell


Auguste Rodin, The Gates of Hell, 1880-1917, plaster (Musée d'Orsay, Paris)

Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker

When the building, earlier on the site of the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, was destroyed by fire during the Commune in 1871, plans were drawn up to replace it with a museum of decorative arts. Rodin won the competition to design a great set of doors for its entry way. Although the museum was never built, Rodin continued to work on the doors. They became an ongoing project; a grand stage for his sculptural ideas. It's fitting that the plaster of this great unfinished sculpture, The Gates of Hell, is now on display at the d'Orsay, the former railway terminal that was built on this site instead of the museum of decorative arts and that, by lovely coincidence, was converted into one of the world's great art museums.

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Geoff wrote on Wednesday, March 06, 2013

As mentioned within the video, there is a strong influence by classical sculptors on Rodin's work such as from sculptors like Michelangelo. There is a very important distinction, however, between the works by Michelangelo and Rodin that gives Rodin such a modern meaning. Where Michelangelo produces forms which are very idealized, often muscular and imposing, the work of Rodin is much more down to earth. Rodin's figures are taken from everyday life, they are people we know and see whenever we walk down the street. Through this humanism, we see a very emotional reaction to figures such as those that can be seen within

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