Rodin Museum (Philadelphia, PA)

The Thinker

I was surprised to learn that there was a museum here in Philadelphia of Auguste Rodin’s works, thinking that most, if not all, of the originals would be in Paris. This belief is based on a misunderstanding of how Rodin worked. He often made plaster casts of his sculpture to be used to make replicas in bronze. To preserve their value, only limited numbers of pieces were ever made. Thus, there are other museums of Rodin’s works.

The Thinker, Rodin’s most recognizable bronze sculpture, sits outside the Rodin Museum. The Philadelphia museum houses the largest collection of his sculpture outside France. Though the building is quite small, there are over 100 of Rodin’s pieces here.

Rodin’s (in)famous sculpture is The Kiss, which is also widely recognizable as one of his enduring and erotic works. There is a copy of it, actually done for the museum by Henry Gréber. Another marble sculpture of an embracing couple is Eternal Springtime, a bronze casting of which also stands nearby.

Eternal Spring

Rodin’s most ambitious work is The Gates of Hell, a bronze door that recreates themes from Dante’s Divine Comedy. It can be seen in the portico as you approach the front of the museum. Several of Rodin’s most famous sculptures were inspired by smaller versions of them on the door, such as The Thinker and The Kiss.

Gates of Hell

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