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The Self-Sacrificing

There is an amazing collection of Rodin sculptures up on display at The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University. The collection is open to the public and admission is free! You are welcome to go there for as long as your heart desires and stare at these often twisted and wretched bronze portrayals of the human state. If you don’t know who Auguste Rodin is, don’t feel bad. He is the sculptor of “The Thinker” and “The Gates of Hell”. I love his representation of the gates of hell and will be going back to get just the right shot to share with you.

Rodin explained this piece by saying,

“These people, having passed through the privations of a long siege, no longer have anything but skin on their bones … I have not shown them grouped in triumphant apotheosis … their soul pushes them outward, but their feet refuse to walk. They drag themselves along painfully, as much because of the feebleness to which famine has reduced them as because of the terrifying nature of the sacrifice … “

I know his work seems a bit dark, but there is something very appealing about the way he chooses to portray his subjects. Admittedly, they all look like they have had better days, but it speaks to the struggle against whatever internal demons seem to inhabit our collective human psyche. Even if you don’t like his work, you can’t help but feel some strong emotion when you look at it. Isn’t this the point of art? To make you feel? Well, I love it! Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Cantor for bringing this to the everyday person!!

Rodin reminds me of one of my favorite artists. He is a lesser-know painter by the name of Jan Kristofori who’s ominous work is so mixed between good and evil that you are left wondering which side he is on. I came upon his work at a museum in Prague when I was traveling through the Czech Republic. If I remember correctly, he was persecuted for being a Christian and imprisoned for a long while. I am sure this heavily influenced his work but his pain if our gain, I suppose. Check him out when you are feeling brave.

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