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The Thinker

Foundry mark back of base to left: ALEXIS RUDIER/Fondeur. PARIS

Auguste Rodin, French, 1840 - 1917. Cast by the foundry Alexis Rudier, Paris, 1874 - 1952.

Made in France, Europe

Modeled 1880-1881; cast 1924


27 1/8 x 15 3/4 x 19 3/4 inches (68.9 x 40 x 50.2 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Rodin Museum

* Rodin Museum, Main Gallery

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Bequest of Jules E. Mastbaum, 1929

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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."

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.