Polk Museum of Art Carves Out Space for Rodin Exhibit

Jun 21, 2022

by Tangela Walker-Craft
Senior Writer

The Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College will present “Rodin: Contemplation and Dreams / Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collections” from June 25 through October 30, 2022. The collection will be on display in the Museum’s Dorothy Jenkins Gallery, Gallery II, and Perkins Gallery. It features more than 40 works by French sculptor Auguste Rodin. The exhibition brings the work of a famous and influential French master to Central Florida. 

Auguste Rodin (1840–1917) is famous for beautiful bronze sculptures, and for mastering and modernizing a technique associated with ancient Greek art. When he began his career in the early 1860s, he chose to keep his art natural looking instead of idealized like other modern art of his time. Although Rodin admired Greek and Roman sculpture, which gave him an appreciation for the history, myths, and stories depicted by the timeless methods employed by ancient sculptors, his sculptures were a departure from the type of sculpture that preceded his work. He embraced new movements and ideas, including Realism and Impressionism. Rodin’s sculptures suggest movement, emotion, and drama.
The exhibit at the Polk Museum of Art will include three of his most famous pieces “Saint John the Baptist Preaching”, “The Gates of Hell”, and “Three Faunesses”.
While Rodin is celebrated as the greatest sculptor of the 19th century, there were challenges in his career. Galleries and the Salon rejected his work because they preferred more traditional, idealized works. However, Rodin persisted and by the turn-of-the-20th-century, he changed the way traditional sculpture was perceived, paving the way for modern sculptors who came after him.  
“Rodin is one of the most iconic artists in the history of art, modern or otherwise, with sculptures and a sculptural style that are instantly recognizable,” explains Dr. H. Alexander Rich, executive director and chief curator. “Rodin’s deft ability to mold out of metal relatable human emotion and drama promises to speak across generations to visitors of all ages and backgrounds. Truly, in addition to the beauty of their craftsmanship, Rodin’s figures succeed in making us feel, too. We cannot wait to share Rodin’s mastery with our community in this incredible exhibition, the scope of which exceeds any sculptural show we have presented before.”
“Rodin: Contemplation and Dreams / Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collections” is the largest installation of sculptures in Polk Museum’s history. Guests can learn about Rodin’s art, his career, and his contributions to and influence on modern sculpture. Sponsored by Florida Southern College, the exhibit was organized and made possible by the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation, Votum Foundation, Culture Builds Florida, LKLD Mayor’s Council for the Arts, and Visit Central Florida.
For more information, visit PolkMuseumofArt.org/Rodin. Additional exhibition programming and educational opportunities can be found at PolkMuseumofArt.org/Events.