A naked man, sitting on a rock, with his feet gathered and his head resting on the back of his hand , is 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 Inferno : 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 damned — 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 it still retains today
In relation to the form, analysts of Rodin's production claim that he was released from certain accessories designed for the Door. This was what gave him a much more universal character. And while his contemporaries criticized the artists' work for its accentuated musculature, which moved away 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 era. In this regard, the sculptor himself expressed:
“ My idea was to represent man as a symbol of humanity. The rough and laborious man who stops in full task to think and to exercise a faculty that distinguishes him from the brute.”
The installation of The Thinker in front of the Pantheon in Paris 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 came directly from Paris in 1907 was made.
Although it was to be placed on the steps of the Congress of the Nation, the delay in the construction of the building made the piece — cast in bronze from the original mold and which also bears Rodin's signature — was permanently installed in the surrounding square, behind the main facade of the body government. It was first exhibited there during the centenary of the May Revolution.
At the end of May of 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 to the original appearance, the height of the pedestal was doubled. In this way, it can be seen better and with greater perspective by those who circulate around the Plaza del Congreso.
After three months of work, together with authorities and experts from the Rodin Museum in France, the sculpture returned to its original site , to continue to inspire and reflect on the power of thought and reason.
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