Monday, January 30, 2012

Rodin's Drawings: His use of Line

The quality of the line is what makes drawings by French artist Auguste Rodin so interesting. Rodin is famous for his expressionistic sculptures, but Rodin also created many drawings.  Later in his life, drawing was his choice of media. A current exhibition of 300 of Rodin's drawings are on display at the Rodin Museum in Paris.  The exhibition started in November, and runs through April 1, 2012.

The subjects of his drawings, with the exception of his early work, are women. Most of the drawings are small, less than 15 inches.  Many drawings include watercolor, and some are cut out.  Particularly interesting is Rodin's use of line within mass.
"I try to see the figure as a mass, as a volume.  It is voluminous that I try to understand.  This is why I sometimes wash a tint over my drawings.   This completes the impression of massiveness, and helps me to ascertain how far I've succeeded in the grasping the movement as a object is to test to what extent my hands already feel what my eyes see."  
Rodin uses the wash after he uses line.  The wash not only fills in and around the drawing, it represents a fresh evaluation of the form as it does always match the drawing.

Some of the color Rodin added to the drawings were somber, but later drawings show beautiful and vivid colors. Many of the drawings are erotic. Some drawings are preparatory sketches for sculptures, but most were created as works of art.  Although the drawings are not dated, so we have no idea of chronology, amazingly, Rodin made over 9,000 drawings in his lifetime.

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