The Nude World of Rodin

The Thinker by Rodin in the Sculpture Garden of the Rodin Museum in Paris.

Following our pilgrimage from Saint Jean Pied de Port, France to Santiago, Spain (the famous 800 kilometre long Camino) in the fall of 2915, my wife and I returned to Paris where we decided to spend time visiting the “Jardin de Sculptures” and the “Musée Rodin”. I am a thinker for the most part, but I don’t sit in the classic Rodin pose for thinking though I do much of my thinking while in the nude. There is something about thinking in depth that I find is enhanced when I am skyclad. The body ceases to be a distraction which occurs when clothing constricts with unpleasant pressures.

Adam – Man arising from nature – Rodin

Rodin’s “The Thinker” drew its inspiriation from Danté and was originally entitled the poet. It makes sense as a poet lays bare the soul of man. Danté laid bare the fears and hopes of the Christian world of his time, a time when there was still belief in magic and the old stories.

The Thinker wasn’t Rodin’s first work depicting a nude. His first nude  was male statue that he had cast two years earlier, the “Bronze Age” statue, which had the intention of showing “man arising from nature.” Rodin soon followed this with yet another nude male statue, that of Saint John the Baptist.

Saint John the Baptist by Rodin.

St. John the Baptist as a nude makes sense when one considers that all baptisms from early Christian history were done with both the person being baptised, as well as the person doing the baptism being nude. But what was almost disquieting about the statue was that the penis was hidden, something that Rodin hadn’t been shy of including in his other works.

The Kiss by Rodin

There were two particular statues that caught my attention that honoured women, “The Kiss”and the “Eternal Idol“. Rodin’s “approach to sculpting women was of homage to them and their bodies, not just submitting to men but as full partners in ardor.” (Wikipedia)

Rodin celebrated the natural human body, and his works are celebrated as art. It is a sad commentary that today, nude human bodies can only be exposed in art, porn flicks and in advertising. As long as we can make money from human nudity, all is well. Showing real human skin in non-commercial, non-organisational situations such as in one’s own home or back yard is seen and judged as a perverted act, sinful and even illegal in most parts of the world, a world in which we are all born naked.