Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 12 November 2019

'Majestic and extremely powerful': Rodin's 'The Thinker' comes to Louvre Abu Dhabi

The bronze sculpture will be on loan for a year from the Rodin Museum in Paris

Auguste Rodin's The Thinker is now at Louvre Abu Dhabi.

His head bent down, chin resting on one hand, a furrowed brow and pressed lips: The Thinker is possibly one of the most famous sculptures of all time.

The bronze sculpture, on loan for a year from the Rodin Museum in Paris, is one of the original castings made by the artist, sometime between 1881 and 1882.

"The sculpture itself is majestic and it's extremely powerful," Souraya Noujaim, in charge of collections at the museum, told The Associated Press. "Rodin is one of the most iconic and most universal artists, so we've got really to have it in Louvre Abu Dhabi."

Noujaim said the museum wanted to cast The Thinker as contemplating the modern human condition.

"Rodin was one of the first artists to get really free from the academic schools. This is why we have it in this gallery, addressing the birth of modernity," she said.

However, Rodin's work was highly controversial in his own time. He traded the idealism of classical European art for a fluid more realistic movement of the body, and often tormented figures.

The Thinker is one of several works by Rodin that Louvre Abu Dhabi holds, some on loan and others as part of the permanent collection.

"We have, I think, opened a path of renewing the way where museums work together," Noujaim said.

Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel with a honeycombed dome of Arab-style geometric shapes, the museum opened in 2017 and is intended to be a bridge between East and West.

Rodin is one of the most iconic and most universal artists, so we've got really to have it in Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Souraya Noujaim

The collection currently at the museum includes archaeological wonders, like one of the oldest Quran's ever found, as well as modernist pieces by Paul Gauguin and Pablo Picasso.

The Thinker, originally called The Poet, was part of Rodin's larger work The Gates of Hell, depicting a scene from Dante's Inferno.

The original sculpture, just over 70 centimetres high, sits on top of the gate and is believed to portray Dante himself. It was first exhibited individually in 1888, before it was enlarged in 1904.

Many large-scale castings of The Thinker now exist worldwide, including the one in the garden of the Rodin Museum in Paris.

Updated: October 29, 2019 06:43 PM

SHARE

SHARE