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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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Artists have different inspirations towards their various works of art, and it is no surprise that a tiny model’s muscles would inspire a great artist like Auguste Rodin. The artist so loved to sculpt the human physique that most of his works have versions distributed all over the Western countries. Though some of the works are erotic, Rodin's sculptures symbolize some of the realities present in human life.

Having met a Japanese actress and dancer, Hanako; Ohta Hisa at a colonial exhibition in France, the artist, felt blown by the model's facial expressions and her toned physique. Rodin then asked the model to come and pose for him which she agreed. Before the sculpture came forth, the artist drew several portraits of the model before he finally molded the image. In the first painting, Rodin painted the model's exotic body with her right leg crossing the right as she stood on one leg. He got so fascinated by Hanako that he was reported to have told a friend of his "Hanako is so strong she could stand on one leg as long as she wanted."

When eventually he sculpted the dancer's image, he only curved out the head and neck. The artist shows he is the master of his work when by showing the fine details in the model's hair with a high knot tied high on the actress' head which is evident in the sculpture. Rodin's obsession with Hanako's exceptional energy made him curve 58 more sculptures of the same model in the same sitting. Some of the Hanako's sculptures include, Bust Of Hanako, Mask Of Hanako and Head Of Hanako. He also majored his love for human anatomy when he sculpted an image of Embracing Couple and Jeane De Fiennes, A Burger Of Calais.

Though he used to craft full-size sculptures of the human physique, he seemed to have gotten his inspiration from some earlier artists who majored in head portraits like Jilly Sutton's work on the Two Dreamers and Augustin Pajou's Bust Of Natalie De Laborde. Rodin also inspired some 19th-century head portraits artists including Juan Munoz and Camille Claudel; the later whose works were mostly erotic though he also did other head sculptures. The full-size exemplary pieces of art all have a similarity; they have an arcing characteristic showing the artists' efficiency in their works and the ability to bend their characters to bring out the flow of the present mood. Hanako's original sculptures done by Auguste Rodin are all in the Rodin Museum in France.