Rodin’s nude sketches and provides a brief overview of the artist’s scandalous presence within fin-de-siecle Paris. These simple but suggestive watercolor and pencil drawings, taken from the artist’s later years, convey an immediacy and sensuality that belie his better-known work in monumental sculpture. Dismissed as obscene at the time of their drafting, the influence of Rodin’s confident but delicate eroticism can be seen in the later works of Schiele, Picasso, and Matisse.
Much of Auguste Rodin’s work defied traditional artistic conventions but out of the public eye, he took a further decisive step towards modernism in a different genre.
These erotic female nude studies, created during the final two decades of his life, represent a completely new approach to art – one that freed itself from previous ideals of beauty and from existing concepts of morality. The work was considered to be indecent at the time. When a small collection of the drawings were shown in Weimar, the director of the museum was dismissed. More than 100 of these little-known drawings, now exist in museums and private collections worldwide.
By the time of creating these drawings in his career he had gained the notoriety and the means to afford live models, often several at a time. They remained in motion during the drawing sessions, while Rodin sketched without interruption, rarely looking down to see what he had drawn. The women’s bodies are spayed out, liberated and unashamed. The delicate nature of Rodin’s line and gentle wash of watercolour in comparison to the honest portrayal of the women’s bodies is totally new to look at even now over a hundred years later. Theres something incredibly powerful about the sexuality created in these drawings with only a couple of pencil lines which is really quite genius.