Rodin Museums HistoryThe Rodin Museum (Musée Rodin) is housed in a beautiful 18th century palace called Hotel Biron. The palace was built in 1731 as a luxurious residence of a wealthy barber and sought to establish for himself the most beautiful house in Paris at that time. After the death of the original owner, the palace changed several ownerships until, in 1905, when the palace was purchased by the French government and divided into several luxury and expensive housing units.
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 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.
What's at the MuseumIn the 17 galleries of the palace, and in the nearby sculpture garden, you can see the famous works of Auguste Rodin, among them also those that have earned him great fame such as "The Thinker", "The Bourgeois of Calais" and more. Alongside Rodin's works are the works of Camille Claudel, who was his student and his beloved and a gifted sculptor, and works by other artists such as Van Gogh, Renoir, Monet and Monk.
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 human 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, but it 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.
Auguste RodinThe Rodin Museum is named after the French sculptor Auguste Rodin, who is known for his realistic style and for his famous sculpture "The Thinker".
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 and 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 1870s, 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 Rodin Museum for TouristsThe house, cafe and garden of the Rodin Museum are dedicated to the work of the genius sculptor, Rodin, who lived and sculpted here during his last years. This is a small museum and one of the most unique and beautiful in the city. Many choose this museum as a favorite for them in Paris because of its beauty and pleasant and artistic atmosphere, along with the magnificent sculptures that make Rodin the successor of the Classical period sculptors.
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.
Rodin's Most Prominent WorksAt the museum you can find some of Rodin's familiar sculptures:
The Gates of HellThis is a huge sculpture project commissioned by the French government - a large bronze gate called "The Gates of Hell". The gate was to be the entrance of a decorative art museum, but it was not executed because it was never finished and the gate itself was not completed for 37 years until the sculptor's death.
The ThinkerOne of Rodin's most famous sculptures. It describes a bronze man immersed in his thoughts. It's construction was completed in 1902 and two years later the statue was released to the public. The truth is that Rodan called it "Dante the Thinker," but the more common and known name is "The Thinker."
The Burghers of CalaisThe sculpture was completed in 1888 and describes the surrender of the city of Calais in 1347 to Edward the 3rd, after a siege that lasted over a year, during the Hundred Years War. Edward the 3rd offered not to destroy the city, provided all six of the most important dignitaries of the city came and sacrificed their lives. After the six dignitaries agreed and being persuaded by Queen of England, Philippa of Hainault, Edward the 3rd agreed not to carry out the execution. The sculpture presents the different characteristics of each of the six figures. The statue was controversial because Rodin chose to present the city's representatives as broken people rather than heroes.
The Age of BronzeThis is one of Rodin's most famous statues of and it sparked a great rage when it was first shown in 1877. The reason was because the statue of the naked man seemed so natural and real that the artist was accused of casting him from a live human model. After it became clear that the accusations had no basis, they recognized him as a genius and he was admired and appreciated as one of the greatest sculptors in the world. Many have since regarded him as the successor to the great sculptors of the classical period.
Rodin GardensThe Rodin Gardens are a magical wonder, like a gem inside a museum. There's a lot of beauty in them. Not luxurious, but a combination of simple, comforting and relaxing beauty at the same time. Classical symmetry and classical sculptures. You can not say that the sculptures scattered in the garden are only beautiful, but also arouse quite a bit of thought. From time to time tourists can be seen trying to imitate the more or less complicated poses of the statues.
The gardens spreads over three dunams 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.