The Age of Bronze

View Larger

August Rodin
French (1840-1917)
The Age of Bronze, 1876

Auguste Rodin's work is remarkable for its passion, earthy realism and triumphant spirit. Rodin labored over this figure, his first major sculptural work, for 18 months while living in Brussels following the Franco-Prussian War. He used a Belgian soldier, August Neyt, as his model and, at one point, considered including a spear in the left hand.

Rodin renamed the piece The Age of Bronze for its debut at the Paris Salon of 1877, referring to one of the epochs of earth's prehistory when it was believed that men were consumed by violence and warfare. Rodin had hoped that The Age of Bronze would make his reputation, and as the first of several "scandalous successes," it certainly did. Its triumph launched him toward international prominence as the preeminent modern sculptor.