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What Is the Rodin Museum?

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The Rodin Museum is a facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This museum is dedicated to the works of celebrated French sculptor Auguste Rodin. While Rodin was best known for his marble and bronze sculptures, the Rodin Museum also houses other works by the artist, including paintings, sketches, and historical artifacts. This facility is managed by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is located just down the road, making it easy for visitors to tour both of these attractions in one day.

During the early 20th century, Philadelphia businessman Jules Mastbaum made it his personal goal to assemble a large collection of Rodin's work, then donate these pieces to the city of Philadelphia. It took Mastbaum just three years to build the largest collection of Rodin creations in the world, outside of France. He gifted these pieces to the city, then hired a pair of architects to design a museum to house the collection. Though Mastbaum died in 1926, his dream was realized in 1929 when the Rodin Museum opened its doors to the public.

The Rodin Museum consists of a temple-like building designed in the French neoclassical style. It houses many of the non-sculptural works, such as paintings and sketches. Most of the sculptures at the Rodin Museum are displayed outdoors in the adjacent garden. Visitors will find more than 100 sculptures in the garden arranged among beautiful plant life and a central reflecting pool.

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In the outdoor garden at the Rodin Museum, visitors can view one of Rodin's best-known works, The Thinker. This piece was designed in 1882, and features a man sitting with his head resting is his hand as he explores his inner thoughts. The Rodin Museum also includes the Burghers of Calais, a popular tribute to the people of Calais, France for their efforts during the Hundred Years War. Both of Rodin's most sensual works, including Eternal Sunshine and The Kiss, can be found at the museum. One of the more popular exhibits is The Gates of Hell, which Rodin spent more than 37 years perfecting.

The Rodin Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, and closed on Mondays. Admission is free, though there is a suggested donation for visitors. Special tours are available, and guests can purchase Rodin-related items at the museum's gift shop. Art lovers or tourists to the area may wish to combine a trip to the Rodin Museum with a visit to the much larger Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is nearby.

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kentuckycat
Post 4

I had the fortune to make it to the Rodin Museum on our recent trip to Philadelphia. Of course, The Thinker is the main attraction, since that is what most people are familiar with, but there was a lot more to see. Rodin was definitely a talented artist and sculptor.

I especially liked the garden that was mentioned in the article. Rodin had quite a talent at getting very lifelike sculptures of people. There is one called the Age of Bronze, that is also pretty well known.

I think my favorite of the whole thing was The Gates of Hell. Even though it wasn't finished, what was there was incredible. I can't even imagine how many hours were spent sculpting it, there is so much detail. If you ever get a chance to visit, it is definitely worth it.

matthewc23
Post 3

@Izzy78 - As with a lot of sculptures, the one in Philadelphia is just one of many that was cast by Rodin over the course of his life. Making sculptures is much different from paintings, obviously, since they can be recreated from the original dies.

The very first Thinker is located in France like you suspected. I don't know which one is located in Philadelphia, but I know there are quite a few different Thinker casts in different places.

I encountered the same confusion as you when I used to live in Louisville, and they had a sculpture of The Thinker that said is was an original work, and I knew there was no way the original was sitting in Kentucky.

Izzy78
Post 2

I am a little confused about this. I know what The Thinker is, but is it really located in the United States, or is the one at the museum a reproduction? I find it hard to believe that they would have a reproduction there, but at the same time, I can believe that the original wouldn't be located in France.

Either way, I am glad I know about this. I always like to check out art museums when I visit a new place. They are always one of the least crowded attractions, and you don't have to deal with noisy kids around you like at a lot of other places. I always feel like I learn something, too, when I visit. Since Philadelphia's museum is pretty well known thanks to the Rocky movies, I'm sure they've invested a lot of money in getting well known works.

jmc88
Post 1

I was in Philadelphia just last year as part of our vacation, and I had no idea this museum existed. We even went to see the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and I don't remember seeing anything about this. Maybe it wasn't advertised very well, or else I just wasn't observant enough to see the signs for it.

I would have really liked to see this, since I am much more interested in looking at sculptures and modern art type pieces than I am paintings. Not to mention that Rodin is one of, if not the most, famous sculptors of the last 200 years.

Maybe if I ever take another trip in that area I'll try to make a side trip to see what is there. I think it would be really interesting to see The Thinker, since it is very famous.

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