Watercolour nude drawing by French sculptor Rodin

Vulcain. Courtesy Musée Rodin. Photo by Jean de Calan

Auguste Rodin is best known for his sensual, turbulent sculptures, but he was one of those rare artists, like Picasso, who transcended category or definition. He created tirelessly, favouring realist depictions of the human body, which celebrated individuality and emotion – a distinct departure from dominant traditions of decorative, thematic artworks.

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The latest exhibition at Musée Rodin in Paris presents a collection of the artist’s cut-outs and drawings, providing a glimpse into Rodin’s experiments and artistic processes. On display are some 250 drawings (the museum retains over 7,500), 90 of which contain cut-out silhouettes.

Drawing of two female nude figures by French sculptor Rodin

Deux femmes nues de profil dont l’une est agenouillée. Courtesy Musée Rodin. Photo by Jean de Calan

In Rodin’s own words, his drawings are, “the key to my work”, but whether or not they provide an enlightened perspective on his sculptures, they are powerful, energised artworks in their own right. Figures appear twisted, contorted, writhing against watery red backgrounds, whilst elsewhere paint seems to leave a ghostly trail of movements from the past.

Watercolour drawing of a nude woman in bridge pose by French artist and sculptor Rodin

Ariane. Courtesy Musée Rodin. Photo by Jean de Calan

Sculptural painting of a winged figure standing on a stone with arms reaching upwards by artist Rodin

La prière s’élève de l’âme du croyant, 1883-1889. Courtesy of Musée Rodin. Photo by Jean de Calan

“Rodin: Draw, Cut” runs until 24 February 2019. For more information visit: musee-rodin.fr