Auguste Rodin, Rainer Maria Rilke
Auguste Rodin
Rainer Maria Rilke
1:52 h History Lvl 9.76
François Auguste René Rodin was a French sculptor, generally considered the founder of modern sculpture. He is known for such sculptures as The Thinker, Monument to Balzac, The Kiss, The Burghers of Calais, and The Gates of Hell. Rodin has pronounced Rilke’s essay the supreme interpretation of his work. A few years ago the sculptor expressed to the translators the wish that some day the book might be placed before the English-speaking public. The appreciation was published originally as one of a series of Art Monographs under the editorship of the late Richard Muther.

Auguste Rodin

by
Rainer Maria Rilke

Translated by Jessie Lemont and Hans Trausil


Rodin — photographed by Gertrude Kasebier.


ARCHAIC TORSO OF APOLLO

We cannot fathom his mysterious head,
Through the veiled eyes no flickering ray is sent;
But from his torso gleaming light is shed
As from a candelabrum; inward bent
His glance there glows and lingers. Otherwise
The round breast would not blind you with its grace,
Nor could the soft-curved circle of the thighs
Steal to the arc whence issues a new race.
Nor could this stark and stunted stone display
Vibrance beneath the shoulders’ heavy bar,
Nor shine like fur upon a beast of prey,
Nor break forth from its lines like a great star —
Each spot is like an eye that fixed on you
With kindling magic makes you live anew.

Rainer Maria Rilke.

Rendered into English by Jessie Lemont.


Preface

Rodin has pronounced Rilke’s essay the supreme interpretation of his work. A few years ago the sculptor expressed to the translators the wish that some day the book might be placed before the English-speaking public. The appreciation was published originally as one of a series of Art Monographs under the editorship of the late Richard Muther.

To estimate and interpret the work of an artist is to be creatively just to him. For this reason there are fewer critics than there are artists, and criticism with but few exceptions is almost invariably negligible and futile.

The strongest and most procreant contact is that which takes place between two creative minds. This book of Rilke on Rodin is the fruit of such a contact. It ripened on the tree of a great friendship for the master. For a number of years Rilke lived close to Rodin at 77 rue de Varenne, in the old mansion surrounded by a beautiful park which was subsequently dedicated to France by the artist and is now the Musée de Rodin. Here the young poet shared the life of the aged sculptor and his most silent hours.

Rodin felt that Rilke approached his sculptures from the same imaginative sphere whence his own creative impulse sprang; he knew that in the pellucid and illuminating realm of the poetic his works found their spiritual home as their material manifestation partook of the atmosphere when placed under the open sky, given wholly to the sun and wind and rain.

H. T.


Auguste Rodin

Writers work through words — Sculptors through matter” — Pomponius Gauricus in his essay, “De Sculptura (about 1504).

“The hero is he who is immovably centred.” — Emerson.


Rodin was solitary before fame came to him and afterward he became, perhaps, still more solitary. For fame is ultimately but the summary of all misunderstandings that crystallize about a new name.

WholeReader. Empty coverWholeReader. Book is closedWholeReader. FilterWholeReader. Compilation cover