The theme of the erotic is ever present in the work of August Rodin, both in his sculptures and in his many drawings. Throughout his career, he depicted sexual desire in all its facets, in every mood from delicate innocence to frank intensity, bearing witness to an endless fascination with the flesh and a love of the female form. Taking a chronological path through Rodin’s career, this is an intimate approach to the many faces of sex and sensuality in his body of work and in the society within which his art was forged, from mythological portrayals of passion to the context of contemporary erotic literature. The topics featured include his relationships with women, his friendships with poets and artists, and the controversy that his sculptures caused in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when French society was marked by a hypocritical disparity between public morals and private desires. In a 1916 interview, Rodin spoke out against his critics: “They protest against the immorality of my work, they criticize me for loving women…. But they are incapable of understanding what I do.” This witty and insightful book, packed with beautiful images, will shed new light on this intriguing aspect of the artist’s world and his skill at capturing the fleeting nature of pleasure in timeless art.
Pascal Bonafoux is a French writer and art historian, whose books includeVan Gogh: The Passionate Eye and Rembrandt: Substance and Shadow. His essaysand articles have been widely published and he has also curated exhibitionsaround the world.