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Balzac, Monumental Head (Balzac, tête monumentale)

European Art

This is an enlargement of one of the final life-size head studies for the Balzac monument. Its exaggerated physiognomy departs from the more realistic portrait studies of the project’s early stages, with an agitated sculptural surface meant to communicate a restless, creative psyche. The head was to be viewed from below and at a distance, and the effect of light on the deeply modeled sculpture played an important role in Rodin’s conception. From different perspectives and under various lighting conditions, Balzac’s face yields a multiplicity of expressions, suggesting the complexity of the author’s personality.
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES 1898; cast 1979
    DIMENSIONS 20 x 17 1/2 x 16 in. (50.8 x 44.5 x 40.6 cm)
    MARKINGS Back, lower edge of base: ".Georges Rudier./.Fondeur. Paris." Lower edge of base, proper left: "© by Musée Rodin 1978"
    SIGNATURE Base, proper left: "A. Rodin" Interior, front of neck, plate in relief: "A. Rodin"
    INSCRIPTIONS Base, proper left, below signature: "No 6"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    EDITION Edition: 6/12
    CREDIT LINE Gift of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation
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