l'Homme qui marche (1907) Auguste Rodin

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About the artwork

l'Homme qui marche, or 'The man who walks' is a top piece from the beginning of modern visual art. Rodin was an artist who made very realistic images. His contemporaries, for example, reproached him for making casts of living people instead of carving or sculpting the images. To be l'Homme qui marche is a somewhat different picture due to the unrealistic way of walking. Head and arms are missing, so the emphasis is on torso and legs that suggest movement. For 19e century concepts, the image was far too incomplete, too sketchy and too pronounced. But in the 20 century it became an example for many modern artists. They appreciated the great expression of the work. Partly because of this appreciation and the influence that the image had on later artists, the image is a benchmark in the development of sculpture. The statue was purchased by the city of Rotterdam as the starting point of an art-historical 'gallery' in the city center. It was a particularly happy asset. l'Homme qui marche is considered one of the most important works of Rodin, although the history of creation is not entirely clear. It is generally assumed that Rodin made a small male torso in 1877 as a preliminary study for John the Baptist; later he added legs for the first version of it l'Homme qui marche. In 1905 an enlarged version of plaster was created that was cast in bronze in 1907. In the same year, the sculpture was first shown to the public at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux Arts in Paris. Of the twelve casts authorized by the Musée Rodin in Paris, only this one was still for sale. The statue was purchased on the initiative of the Urban Embellishment Commission, after it was exhibited in 1960 at the sculpture exhibition in the Rotterdam Museum Park on the occasion of the Floriade. The decision to purchase was difficult, because there were doubts as to whether the statue was suitable for a public place in the city. That is why it was first admired for five years in the museum garden of Boijmans Van Beuningen. After a considerable wandering, the image was finally placed in 1988 along the Westersingel and was placed on the sculpture terrace in 2000 as a test and standard for the other abstract human figures in 20 century sculpture. The base on which the work of art stands is based on a sketch of the image of the statue drawn by Rodin on a photo of the inner courtyard of Palazzo Farnese in Rome. For more information: Sculpture International Rotterdam

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About the artist

With a style associated with Impressionism, Auguste Rodin (Paris, 1840 - Meudon, 1917) is considered one of the most important modern sculptors and pioneers, who has inspired several generations. His work is included in the collections of major modern museums and worldwide there are three museums dedicated to his work, namely in Philadelphia, Paris and in Meudon (France).

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