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The Morning Report — 7/20/23 | Main | The Morning Rant: Minimalist Edition
July 20, 2023

Mid-Morning Art Thread [Kris]

Rodin Eve Small.jpg

Eve (After the Fall)
Auguste Rodin

Sculpture is a hard medium to write about because its three-dimensionality translates poorly into flat pictures on a two-dimensional screen or in a book. You need to walk around sculpture to appreciate its contours and forms, and how it occupies the space. This work by August Rodin is doubly hard because it is a cast of a work that was intended to be smaller and attached to another. It’s meaning changed slightly with the new context. However, I think it has power as a stand-alone piece which is a testament to Rodin’s genius.

Eve was one of many figures created for the massive, unfinished Gates of Hell. Some others are The Thinker and The Kiss. I decided to write about this piece because I have experienced this piece in person. This version is in my hometown art gallery. I took these pictures [the one below. CBD] when I visited a few weeks ago and wanted to share my experience with the Horde. My impressions and observations in this essay are based solely on this specific cast.

Eve is life-sized. Because of this, I’m able to gaze into her face and study the details of her form closely (receiving a stern warning from security). This work depicts an ashamed and frightened Eve being kicked out of Eden. Her form twists and turns as she folds in on herself. Her limbs fold over her body to try to hide her nudity. Her left arm rises in a defensive gesture to shield her expressive face from the wrath of God. Eve seems like a three-dimensional recreation of Michelangelo’s Eve from the Sistine Chapel scene Expulsion from Paradise. The pose and face are almost identical.

Rodin Eve1.jpg

The spiral twist of her form is so dramatic. She’s coiled tightly like a spring and I can feel its tension. Notice that the texture of the bronze surface is rough and unfinished. To me it feels impressionistic. Rodin seems to have molded the clay quickly. It gives the work a desperate immediacy. Everything seems to have happened in Eden so fast. Adam and Eve ate, fell, and were driven away. The drama of the act and its consequences seem imprinted onto the metal surface.

For me, the scale of this work matters. If she were smaller as intended, I think the details in her pose and her face would be lost or overlooked. If she were larger, her drama would be removed and abstracted. Life-sized she becomes real. I can see her fear-filled face clearly. Her emotion radiates. I walked around her and saw how her contours shifted from every angle. The gallery’s lighting keeps her face in shadow, and I think it mimics how she is now removed from God’s presence. She looks straight down, not forward to watch where she is going and appears to have a slight lean to the left. To me, she looks close to stumbling as she runs. Eve flees in panic. It’s so tragic and so emotional. It’s beautiful.

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posted by Open Blogger at 09:30 AM

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