Bacchantes Embracing Auguste Rodin Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Bacchantes Embracing is believed to have been designed prior to 1896 by Rodin himself, but the sculpture now in existence was actually cast many years after his death.

The Brooklyn Museum in the US owns a bronze version of Bacchantes Embracing (Bacchantes s'enlaçant) that was cast fairly recently in 1967. It remains on display there most of the time and is one of a large number of artworks that were produced from Rodin's moulds after his death. The best establishment in which to learn more about his career continues to be the Musee Rodin in Paris, where an extraordinary archive of his life has been established and documented in considerable detail. Alongside a large number of moulds and sculptures from his career, one can also discover photographs from his life that were collected up over time by himself and also his biographer. These have helped us to better understand his working processes as well as provide a back story to some of his more famous sculptures.

The piece itself captures a bacchante embraced with a female faun in the sort of pose that continues across many of this sculptor's other creations. It seems that the use of a mythological theme would help the artist to use content in this way, when otherwise it might have upset the more conservatively minded viewers. There are goat legs and hooves which helps us to identify that one of the so called bacchante is actually a female faun, which is confused by the title. We are unsure as to whether it was even the artist himself who named the piece, and he also regularly changed his mind about specific titles even after they had been finished.

Auguste Rodin would go to extraordinary lengths in order to achieve the most precise depictions of the human body within his work. He would use live models many times from his own studio and would often photograph them and make quick sketches whilst considering their suitability for his work in general. He would also sometimes have specific projects in mind. He tended to desire those with highly toned physiques, rather than being overly muscular. He would use both male and female models and would over time become to see the sculptures and the models merge into one, such was his obsessive and devoted manner of his work. His favourite models would then return several times and feature in a number of different sculptures, to the point where you can even recognise them in certain cases.

Bacchantes Embracing in Detail Auguste Rodin