- Gallery Text
Rodin submitted this design for a public monument commemorating the defense of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71). It was roundly rejected, which Rodin later attributed to its portrayal of violence: “Despite all my efforts, despite the life which, I believe, animates my group . . . I was not even considered. . . .[It] must have appeared too violent, too intense.”
The composition features a wounded soldier falling to the ground, gazing up at the Genius of War. Her wings, outstretched arms, and bare breasts recall ancient sculptures of Victory, while her Phrygian bonnet— a conical cap— alludes to the triumph of the French Revolution (1789–99) and symbolizes liberty. Though inspired by many precedents, Rodin’s group specifically recalls François Rude’s relief on the side of the Arc de Triomphe, March of the Volunteers of 1792 (La Marseillaise), 1833–36, which is also surmounted by a winged figure of war.
- Identification and Creation
Level 2, Room 2100, European and American Art, 17th–19th century, Centuries of Tradition, Changing Times: Art for an Uncertain Age
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- Physical Descriptions
- 114.9 x 27.9 x 32.4 cm (45 1/4 x 11 x 12 3/4 in.)
- Inscriptions and Marks
- Signed: by left foot of soldier: A. Rodin
- [Scott & Fowles, New York, NY], sold; to Grenville L. Winthrop, 1923, bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1943.
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- European and American Art
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- Publication History
Léonce Bénédite, Rodin, F. Rieder & cie (Paris, France, 1926)
S. Lane Faison, Jr., A Guide to the Art Museums of New England, Harcourt, Brace and Co. (New York, 1958), p. 116; repr. p. 116, fig. 11
Ionel Jianou and Cecile Goldscheider, Rodin, Editions d'Art, Arted, Paris (Paris, France, 1967), p. 87, repr. pl. 37
John L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, David R. Godine and Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia, PA, 1976), p. 374
- Exhibition History
32Q: 2100 19th Century, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050
- Subjects and Contexts
Google Art Project
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