This beautiful exhibition is as much a celebration of the craft of sculpture as it is about the influence of Ancient Greece on Rodin’s work.
From the second you step into Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece, you are swept away by the scale and the beauty of many of the sculptures that have been selected for this impressive exhibition, each one perfectly capturing how Rodin was influenced by Ancient Greek sculpture.
It is made very clear early on (and emphasised a lot as you wonder around) that Auguste Rodin never visited Greece, but did visit London and the British Museum to see the pieces of Ancient Greece sculpture on display and was consequently influenced in his future work by what he saw there.
Featuring sculptures such as The Thinker and The Kiss alongside some of the British Museum’s own pieces of Ancient Greek sculpture, Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece expertly and carefully examines the links both the artist and ancient history, highlighting how the past can be immensely influential in any artist’s work.
As visitors wonder around exploring the work on display, you do begin to see the Ancient Greek sculptures through Rodin’s eyes and gain a deep understanding of how he used them as a starting point for his own work as well as the techniques that he used to create them.
Everything in the exhibition has been carefully and thoughtfully presented to offer a nice contrast between pieces as well as offering an insight into Rodin’s own thoughts, with his voice coming through with various quotes dotted on the walls and the information labels beneath some of the pieces.
There is great beauty in all of the sculptures which have been selected for display, but while the Greek sculpture offers visitors a chance to explore in detail the similarities of technique used by Rodin, it is Rodin’s work that is perhaps the strongest element of the exhibition. It seems that the artist’s work that has been chosen was selected to cause more of an impact than perhaps Greek Sculpture was (despite its own impressiveness).
But the display is not purely about the sculpture. It also contains some beautifully detailed drawings that gives the exhibition extra depth and detail.
It is an admirable exhibition that never overwhelms the visitor, allowing them to explore each piece at their leisure and leaving them with a deeper understanding of Rodin’s work and appreciation of sculpture as a whole. Expertly researched, it is an immensely enjoyable and fascinating exhibition to visit.
Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece is on display at the British Museum until the 29th July. For more information visit: http://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions/rodin-1.aspx