Mask Of Iris

Auguste Rodin

French, 1840 - 1917

Mask of Iris, 1890 - 1891

  • Not On View


Dimensions: 7 1/4 × 4 1/2 × 8 1/4 in. (18.4 × 11.4 × 21 cm)

Gift of B. Gerald Cantor, 1979.327

Considered to be the greatest sculptor since Michelangelo, Auguste Rodin was schooled in a traditional approach through the study of classical and renaissance sculpture. He was also influenced, however, by the realism and individualism of the nineteenth century. This departure from the norm resulted in Rodin’s repeated denial for acceptance at the Grand École, where neoclassical sculpture was preferred. Therefore, Rodin began his professional art career by creating ornamental sculpture, decorative objects, and architectural embellishments. Rodin’s interest in the art of antiquity led to his collecting masks, as well as the creation of works such as the Mask of Iris. In 1875, Rodin travelled to Italy to study the works of such Renaissance masters as Donatello and Michelangelo. The work of these artists, combined with examples of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture, inspired him to sculpt fragmented figures. For Rodin, the expression of surface and form was of primary importance. He achieved this through the creation of rough surfaces with visible working marks left upon the material.

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