Mapplethorpe at Musée Rodin


An exhibition at Musée Rodin puts currently in perspective two artists whose comparison seems a priori surprising : the sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1919), of course, and the American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) , famous for his sultry nude photos but also flowers and portraits. The exhibition illustrates their shared passion for the representation of the human body. Rodin was already using photography. He requested a photographic campaign of his statue of Balzac in moonlight from the American photographer Edward Steichen in order to respond to criticism (” make the world understand my Balzac”).  Mapplethorpe was, for his part, very inspired by sculptures, including those of Michelangelo, and described his pictures as being “like sculptures, as forms that take up a space”. The exhibition at the Musée Rodin reveals the correspondence between two artists who, beyond appearances, are inspired by an ideal of classical beauty .

Une exposition au Musée Rodin met actuellement en perspective deux artistes dont le rapprochement semble a priori surprenant: le sculpteur Auguste Rodin (1840-1919), bien sûr, et le photographe américain Mapplethorpe (1946-1989), célèbre pour ses photos sulfureuses de nu, mais aussi de fleurs et de portraits. L’exposition permet d’illustrer leur passion commune pour la représentation du corps humain. Rodin utilisait déjà la photographie. Il avait ainsi commandé une campagne photographique de sa statue de Balzac au clair de lune au photographe américain Edward Steichen afin, pour répondre aux critiques, de « faire comprendre au monde mon Balzac ». Mapplethorpe fut, de son côté, très inspiré par les sculptures, notamment celles de Michel-Ange et décrivait ses photos « comme des sculptures, comme des formes qui occupent un espace ». L’exposition du Musée Rodin permet ainsi d’admirer cette correspondance entre deux artistes qui, au-delà des apparences, s’inspirent d’un idéal de beauté classique.

Lomont_041Lomont_030Lomont_036Lomont_088_The Hôtel Biron built in 18th century  became the Rodin Museum in 1916. Rodin who had been renting the hotel since 1908 to use as a studio,  gave all  of his oeuvres and collections to the French state, on the condition that he could  reside  there all  his life , after which Rodin’s collections would remain there, eventually to become today’s Musée Rodin .

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