Can you imagine having the nerve to criticize sculptures like The Kiss and The Thinker? I mean, have you seen them? It just shows that there will always be naysayers. Rodin was criticized for his now notable works. They didn’t follow the trends of the time. They weren’t idealized, like all of the other art. They showed flaws. They were too real, if that’s possible. He was never one to bow to the trends. The criticism bothered him, but he refused to change.
Thank goodness he had the self-awareness to stand firm. Otherwise the world would be a more ugly place.
Even his hand series, he was criticized for showcasing a “simple part of the body.” His response?, “Those people, didn’t they understand anything about sculpture? About study? Don’t they think that an artist has to apply himself to giving as much expression to a hand or a torso as to a face? And that he is logical and far more of an artist to exhibit an arm rather than a “bust” arbitrarily deprived by tradition of its arms, legs and abdomen? Expression and proportion are the goals. Modeling is the means: it’s through modeling that flesh lives, vibrates, struggles and suffers…”
When it’s all said and done, Rodin is regarded as one of the greatest sculptors who ever lived. His influence still reaches artists today. His critics? Not so much.
c. 2020 LTAWB
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