Musée Auguste Rodin is one of the many small museums in Paris that make museum-going a pleasure.
I am one who rather dreads stepping foot into the Louvre. I hate how that makes me sound like an uncivilized wretch, because after all, everyone who goes to Paris must experience the Louvre at least once (even if it’s just “Louvre Light”: racing around to the biggies such as Venus de Milo, the Winged Victory and the Mona Lisa, among others). But staring at paintings on the walls of a gallery the length of two football fields is not my idea of fun. The Louvre needs to be broken down into bite-sizes. And that’s for another post.
There are small museums scattered around tiny streets and places in Paris, many housed in what were once residences. The Rodin Museum is one of these. The mansion, Hôtel Biron, was built in the late 1720s, and there is a nice history of its inhabitants in the embedded link in the post title.
M. Rodin wanted a museum for his art and gave the French government the entire collection of his own work and others he had acquired, but he died before seeing his dream become reality: his art housed in the Hôtel Biron, which opened as the Rodin Musuem in 1919 (Rodin died in 1917). Apparently the bureaucratic art world in Paris during his lifetime did not easily accept his art. Imagine, he was never accepted as a student into the most prestigious Paris art institute, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, though he applied three times.
On two floors, you can browse and stroll into room after room, where sculptures, sketches, and bronzes are placed. Loving residential architecture as I do, being in this building alone, regardless of the art on display, is a pleasure.
The grounds are also beautiful, and you can see many sculptures outside, including The Thinker and the Gates of Hell. Here is a bronze of The Thinker inside.
Photos courtesy Donica Detamore and Ginnie Hart
(Ginnie: I'm sorry I was not able to upload your favorite sculpture, Danaid, but I lost patience. I'll see if I can get it done later.)