The unique design of the palace and the magnificent gardens surrounding it attracted various artists such as Henri Matisse, and in 1908 the sculptor Auguste Rodin rented part of the ground floor of the palace to store his works. In the rooms he rented he used as a studio, where he worked and entertained his many friends. At the same time, Rodin began talking to the French government to fulfil his life's goal: to turn the palace into a museum dedicated to his works.
In 1916, as part of an agreement to establish the museum, Rodin donated all his works, sculptures and paintings, photographs and archives, as well as the private collections he had accumulated over the years. But Rodin did not live to see his dream come true - he died in 1917, while the museum opened its doors to the general public only two years later.
One of Rodin's famous sculptures, the "Bronze Age", caused great rage when it was first shown in 1877. It was a statue of a naked man who looked so natural and real that the artist was accused of casting him on a living model. After it became clear that the accusations had no basis, the rage was replaced with great admiration, and Rodin was regarded as one of the greatest sculptors in the world.
Another famous sculpture, perhaps the artist's most famous sculpture, is the statue of "The Thinker" - a self contained human figure, who rests his head on his hand in a 'thinking' pose. This sculpture was part of a comprehensive work by Rodin. "The Gates of the Underworld" inspired by Dante's Divine Comedy, was also presented as an independent sculpture. In 1906 "The Thinker" was placed at the front of the Pantheon in Paris, thus becoming the first sculpture of the artist to be exhibited in a public place in Paris. After the opening of the Rodin Museum, the sculpture was copied to the sculpture garden of the Biron Palace, where it stands to this day.
Rodin was born in Paris to a poor family and despite his talent, at the beginning of his artistic career, he could not take off. For twenty years he made a living by carving, his application was rejected three times by the "Ecole des Beaux-Arts" (National High School of Fine Arts).
The turning point began in the mid 1870's, when he toured Italy and saw Michelangelo's works, from which he drew inspiration for his creation, "The Bronze Age." Rodin's characters were so realistic and distant from what was customary at the time that they accused him of casting with the bodies of living models. After it became clear that the charges against him had no basis, he received tremendous admiration for his impressive achievement and he was recognized as one of the greatest sculptors in the whole world.
The museum opened in 1919 and is located in the Hotel Biron, which was built in 1727 and where Rodin lived since 1908.
If you come here with children and the museum is not able to intrigue them enough, you can stroll through the museums garden and look at Rodin's sculptures. You can also sit in the museum's café, because it is open to the garden and while your sitting, the adults, can let the kids go wild in the lawns and learn about Rodin's works through the sculptures.
Hotel Biron underwent a three year and 16 million euro renovation, it reopened in November 2015. It also revealed 600 items that were never displayed before.
The gardens spreads over 3,000 square meters and are divided into a rose garden and a large ornamental garden.
Between the two main buildings of the museum is a charming garden where passerby can see "The Thinker" and the famous roses of the gardens. But in order to really discover the large and wide gardens, one has to go through the wide structure.
To reach another magical garden, smaller than the previous ones, go all the way to the large pool surrounded by sculptures. When the garden seems to be over - continue beyond the big arches. There you will see a small garden, with an English ambience and dimness.
Free for Under 18 and under 26 from the European Union.