Saturday, October 22, 2011

Rodin Museum: Renovation, Conservation and Garden

(photos: TheHopefulTraveler)
Visiting any museum can be a daunting experience and overwhelming especially with the choices along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. So rather than trying to visit as many of the museums as possible, I chose to focus on the Rodin Museum. Unfortunately the interior is closed for renovation and conservation of the collection. However the garden is open and visitors can appreciate the completed renewal project of the museum's exterior and grounds.

Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) was a French sculptor who possessed a unique ability to model a complex, turbulent, deeply pocketed surface in clay. This museum, opened in 1929, contains the largest collection of his works outside of Paris.

Within the gardens are three of Rodin's major sculptures on display. The Thinker, probably one of the world's most recognizable sculptures, greets visitors at the entry to the courtyard. The massive 20-foot bronze doorway sculpture called The Gates of Hell stands at the entrance to the museum building. Rodin worked on this detailed sculpture for 37 years until his death. The life-sized sculpture The Burghers of Calais, depicting heroes of the Middle Ages, looks upon those wondering the gardens.

I'm not an art critic and without knowing the story behind each of these sculptures, each one does have a life of its own. The way they are molded gives then an animated quality and an eeriness that is memorable.

Visit for more information. Hours: Tue-Sun 10am-5pm; closed Mondays and holidays. A $5 contribution is suggested as admission.


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