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From Paris, with love: Rodin's Thinker at Abu Dhabi Louvre

From Paris, with love: Rodin's Thinker at Abu Dhabi Louvre

Tuesday, 29 October, 2019 - 18:45
The Thinker at the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi. (AP)
Asharq Al-Awsat
His head bent down, chin resting on one hand, a furrowed brow and pressed lips: The Thinker, possibly one of the most famous sculptures of all time, has found a new home at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The bronze sculpture, on loan for a year from the Rodin Museum in Paris, is one of the original castings made by Auguste Rodin, sometime between 1881 and 1882.

"The sculpture itself is majestic and it's extremely powerful," said Souraya Noujaim, in charge of collections at the museum in the United Arab Emirates' capital.

"Rodin is one of the most iconic and most universal artists, so we've got really to have it in Louvre Abu Dhabi,” she said, according to The Associated Press.

Noujaim said the museum wanted to cast The Thinker as contemplating the modern human condition.

"Rodin was one of the first artists to get really free from the academic schools. This is why we have it in this gallery, addressing the birth of modernity," she said.

Rodin's work was highly controversial in his own time. He traded the idealism of classical European art for a fluid more realistic movement of the body, and often tormented figures.

The Thinker is one of several works by Rodin Louvre Abu Dhabi holds, some on loan and others as part of the permanent collection.

"We have, I think, opened a path of renewing the way where museums work together," Noujaim said.

The Thinker, originally called The Poet, was part of Rodin's larger work The Gates of Hell, depicting a scene from Dante's Inferno.

The original sculpture, just over 70 centimeters high, sits on top of the gate and is believed to portray Dante himself. It was first exhibited individually in 1888, before it was enlarged in 1904.

Many large-scale castings of The Thinker now exist worldwide, including the one in the garden of the Rodin Museum in Paris.

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