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The sculpture Man with the Broken Nose was among Auguste Rodin's first work as a sculptor. It was created between 1863 to 1864 in France with an intention to exhibit it at the Salon Exhibition.
It represented a man named Bibi who made a living doing odd jobs in the neighbourhood where Auguste Rodin had set up his first studio, in Paris. It highlighted Bibi's face features; his facial lines and his broken nose, and this brought great pleasure to Rodin as he would later admit that the sculpt inspired all his future works.
The first work on the sculpture was done on plaster. However, due to cold temperatures in France, the artist lost the back of the sculpture's head through cracks. Rodin later presented the remaining part of the sculpt that looked like a mask to the Salon Exhibition in 1865, but it was however rejected. He then remodelled the mask with bronze, and it was approved by the Salon in 1875. The sculpture has clearly shown Auguste Rodin's expertise as an artist. The deep contours on the man’s face and his facial expression have clearly been achieved with this sculpture.
The broken nose and sharp facial expression are very impressive. On this piece of art, Auguste heavily used Physical Realism to bring out Bibi's facial expression. Realism is also seen in his early works. For an artist who never received any formal training in sculpting, his prowess in his artistic works shows pure talent. He was much motivated by popular literature in his time. Currently, Man with the Broken Nose sculpture is at the Rodin Museum in Paris. It is now available in the remodelled form made from bronze, and it bears Auguste's signature on the right side of the neck.
Artists who Inspired Auguste Rodin
Michelangelo - He is a renowned painter who was a big supporter of realism (or at least a small movement towards it from what had gone before within the Renaissance). Auguste admired Michelangelo's work in bringing out the human form in his paintings. Auguste, therefore, combined Michelangelo's style and some of his own ideas to create popular works and become the greatest artist of his time.
Camille Claudel - She was a great artist of her time, and her work inspired Auguste. She was Auguste's mistress, and the similarity in their work confirmed their deep relationship. She played a huge part in Auguste's work as she inspired most of his work in sculpture.