Why is one of the world's largest collections of works by Auguste Rodin located on Philadelphia's Museum Mile? The museum was founded by movie-theater tycoon Jules Mastbaum and first opened to the public in 1929 – and maintains a pay-what-you-wish admission policy. Our conversation will introduce the museum's impressive collection, including the Age of Bronze, Gates of Hell—which contains The Thinker—and The Burghers of Calais. We'll learn how Rodin's studio practice revolutionized sculpture in 19th-century France and ultimately reached worldwide acclaim.
As we imagine a virtual stroll through the sculpture garden and museum galleries, we'll consider how the artist broke barriers with his innovative approach to life-size creations and expressive poses. We will discuss the rejection and disdain that Rodin initially faced from critics and his romantic affair with his assistant, Camille Claudel. Despite his attraction to Camille, Rodin refused to leave his long-time companion, Rose Beuret. Claudel was forced to depart from Rodin's studio and life—but their affair was immortalized in The Kiss and Eternal Springtime, both on view in the Philadelphia Rodin Museum. Scholars continue to debate the artistic relationship shared by Rodin and Claudel and their romantic liaisons.
We will consider Rodin's place in art history's canon—how his achievements helped modernize the industry—and how his art reflects his personal life. We begin with his early career, including a pivotal trip to Italy where Rodin studies Michelangelo's works, which inspires Rodin's path to move in a new direction. Following his return to France, Rodin engages in a series of masterworks that help define his career, such as the Gates of Hell – which he worked on until his death, 37 years later.
At the conclusion of this conversation, led by art historian Jayne Yantz, participants will understand Rodin's contributions to modern sculpture, the elements of his style and working methods, and how his art and life were intertwined. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, this talk introduces listeners to the masterpieces in Philadelphia's Rodin Museum and sculpture garden (seasonally hosting a Friday Garden Bar), which is located just near the Barnes Foundation on the Parkway and a very short distance from the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Jayne Yantz completed graduate work in art history and anthropology before beginning a career in college teaching. She specializes in non-Western art and European Old Masters, has traveled extensively to see the works of art she teaches, and believes it is important to continue learning throughout life. Jayne has received continued recognition for teaching excellence, including the Teacher of the Year award from her college. She currently lives in the New Jersey Pinelands on a nature preserve.
This conversation is suitable for all ages.
90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.