How did Rodin’s El Pensador get to Buenos Aires?
A naked man sitting on a rock with his feet gathered and his head resting on the back of his handis perhaps the most famous sculpture of the French artist, Auguste Rodin (1840-1917). Made in 1880 and known as The Thinker, the sculptor devised the piece for one of the allegories and characters of The Gate of Hell: that monumental work inspired by the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.
Before being known as The Thinker, the sculpture was titled The Poet. The figure was conceived as a creator who watched the condemned — those represented in Alighieri’s text — wandering through the different circles of hell. This original piece was only 0.70 cm and it was in 1903, when it was reproduced on a larger scale: almost 1.90 cm. From there, the sculpture acquired the fame that still retains today
In relation to the form, analysts of the production of Rodin assure that it was released from certain accessories designed for the Gate. This was what gave it a much more universal character. And, while his contemporaries criticized the work of the artists for his accentuated musculature, which was far from the aesthetic parameters for an allegory or representation of the mind, his body and nudity could cross the barriers of time and not be linked to any particular epoch. In this sense, the sculptor himself expressed:
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“My idea was to represent man as a symbol of humanity. To the tough and laborious man who stops in full task to think and exercise a faculty that distinguishes him from the brutes.” < !
The installation of The Thinker in front of the Pantheon in 1906 was a success. In 1922, the sculpture was moved to the Rodin Museum in that same French city.
The thinker in Buenos Aires
Thanks to the management of the first director of the National Museum of Fine Arts, painter and art historian Eduardo Schiaffino,a copy of the French work that came directly from Paris in 1907 was made. < !— /wp:paragraph — >
Although it was to be placed on the steps of the Congress of the Nation, the delay involved in the construction of the building meant that the piece — cast in bronze from the original mold and also bearing Rodin’s signature — was permanently installed in the surrounding square, behind the façade. principal of the government agency. It was first exhibited there, during the Centenary of the May Revolution.
At the end of May this year, and after more than a century installed there, the work was removed by the Ministry of Environment and Public Space of the City of Buenos Aires for restoration. In addition to performing a surface cleaning and returning the original appearance, the height of the pedestal was doubled . In this way, it can be appreciated better and with greater perspective by those who circulate in the Plaza del Congreso.
After three months of work, and together with authorities and experts from the Rodin Museum of France, the sculpture returned to its original site, to continue inspiring and reflecting on the power of thought and reason.
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