10 Inspiring Quotes by Auguste Rodin on His 176th Birthday

The sculptor was known for his musings.

Auguste Rodin. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The French artist Auguste Rodin created some of the best-known sculptures in art history, including The Thinker (1902), The Burghers of Calais (1884-1889), and The Kiss (1882-1889).

Today the sculptor is recognized as one of the greatest artists and the originator of modern sculpture, along with his assistant Camille Claudel, who worked on Rodin’s most difficult pieces, such as The Gates of Hell (1880-1917). During his early career, his work was criticized for its astounding realism and physicality, traits which went against the dominant classicist tradition, which favored sculpture that was heavily decorative and thematic.

Rodin’s refusal to change his style amid the criticism earned him great respect from the artistic community. By the turn of the century he rose to great prominence, aided by an exhibition of his works at the 1900 world fair in Paris. For the remainder of his lifetime Rodin enjoyed a stellar reputation among critics, fellow artists, and wealthy collectors—who lined up for his sculptures and commissions.

Today in honor of what would have been the great sculptor’s 176th birthday, we collected 10 quotes from the modern master.

Auguste Rodin The Thinker (1902). Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Auguste Rodin The Thinker (1902). Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

1. On time:
Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.

2. On the hidden artist:
Inside you there’s an artist you don’t know about. He’s not interested in how things look different in moonlight.

3. On invention:
I invent nothing, I rediscover.

4. On sculpture:
Sculpture is the art of the hole and the lump.

5. On nudity:
Man’s naked form belongs to no particular moment in history; it is eternal, and can be looked upon with joy by the people of all ages.

6. On nature:
To the artist there is never anything ugly in nature.

7. On passion:
The artist must create a spark before he can make a fire and before art is born, the artist must be ready to be consumed by the fire of his own creation.

8. On patience:
Patience is also a form of action.

9. On simplicity:
The more simple we are, the more complete we become.

10. On labor:
You must always work.


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