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Rodin Museum

The Thinker

Modeled 1880-1881; cast 1924
Auguste Rodin, French, 1840 - 1917. Cast by the foundry Alexis Rudier, Paris, 1874 - 1952

Rodin originally created this figure for the top of The Gates of Hell. The seated man represented Dante, the Italian poet whose depiction of hell provided the theme for the doors. But the sculptor eventually separated the figure from The Gates, exhibiting it alone as a generic portrait he called The Poet or The Thinker.


In 1904 the city of Paris installed a larger version of the work as a public monument, and its symbolism shifted again. "Mr. Rodin’s Thinker is the ordinary workman, anonymous, unknown," one newspaper wrote. "It symbolizes the egalitarian society and the total republic."

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Object Details

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Rodin Museum