Ugolino, Torso of a Child (Ugolin, Torse d'un enfant)
This torso is a fragment from a group called Ugolino and His Sons that appears in The Gates of Hell. Ugolino was an Italian count imprisoned with his sons and grandchildren, who were all left to starve. Eventually driven mad by hunger, he devoured the flesh of his offspring. In Dante’s Divine Comedy, Ugolino suffered eternal damnation.
This figure is derived from one of Ugolino’s fallen sons in the larger group who reaches his arm up and across his crawling father’s back, trying to lift himself up. Even separated from this narrative, the torso effectively conveys despair. In its extreme simplification of form this sculpture anticipates the modernist work of Constantin Brancusi, who served briefly as a technician in Rodin’s workshop in 1907.
model date unknown; cast 1980
9 1/2 x 6 7/8 x 5 1/2 in. (24.1 x 17.5 x 14.0 cm)
Lower edge, proper left thigh: "E. GODARD Fondr."
Back, underside of truncation: "© by MUSEE RODIN 1980"
Underside, proper right leg: "A. Rodin"
Underside, proper right leg: "No 2"
This item is not on view
Gift of B. Gerald Cantor Collection
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