Signed on base by back of head: A. Rodin Foundry mark on edge of work by figure's left shoulder: Alexis Rudier/Fondeur Paris
Auguste Rodin, French, 1840 - 1917. Cast by the founder Alexis Rudier, Paris, 1874 - 1952.
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Rodin originally intended this figure to be part of his monumental work The Gates of Hell (Philadelphia Museum of Art, F1929-7-128), attached to a vertical support to appear as if floating in space. However, the dislocation expressed by the body when presented horizontally compelled Rodin to make it into a sculpture in its own right. The ambiguous nature of The Martyr emerges from the feelings of both suffering and ecstasy she expresses, reflecting Rodin's conception of love. The sculptor must have found the particular tension of the limbs especially expressive, as he returned to it on a number of occasions such as in the Fall of Icarus (Collection of the Musée Rodin, Paris).