Born François-Auguste-René Rodin (1840-1917) on this day in Paris, France, sculptor Auguste Rodin briefly pursued the priesthood while grieving the unexpected death of his beloved sister.
The introspective artist once said, "Art is contemplation."
With a passion for drawing and sculpture, Rodin left the monastery to pursue his artistic vocation as a decorative sculptor and artisian. He moved to Brussels in 1870 and worked for the successful sculptor Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse for six years.
"The artist is the confidant of nature," he said. "Flowers carry on dialogues with him through the graceful bending of their stems and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms. Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards him."
In 1876, he made a life-altering, passionate pilgrimage to Florence and discovered the brilliance of Michelangelo and the beauty of the human form. Rodin, creativity emerging, said, "Michelangelo saved me from academicism."
Inspired, Rodin created his favorite and famous work, The Thinker (Le Penseur) 1880, carved in bronze and marble. With hand on chin, The Thinker captured Dante Alighieri's contemplation of The Divine Comedy Inferno. Rodin said of his pensive creation, "He is no longer a dreamer, he is a creator."
Rodin was prolific and innovative throughout his life. His sculpture celebrated freedom and human vitality, movement and spirit. "I invent nothing. I rediscover," he said.
Learn from the experience.