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Rodin captures the human spirit

Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Al Clark guides honors colloquium students Ariel Cole, Persephonie Romero, Emily Martin, Steve Reyes, Andra North, and Lisa Keyan through the Auguste Rodin “Mirror of the Soul” exhibit in the Harris Gallery. Each student was advised to pick his or her favorite sculpture and explain what interested them about it. The gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. / photo by Zachary Horton

Ingrid Rodriguez
Staff Writer

Human expression is not easiest thing to capture, but Auguste Rodin was able to focus on the intensity of the human spirit through an unlikely medium.

The exhibit features work from Rodin’s unique form of artistic expression through 27 small, bronze sculptures created between 1860 and1917.

More than 50 people attended the opening reception of Rodin’s “Mirror of the Soul” exhibition Tuesday. Gallery Director Dion Johnson, said he tries to choose a wide range of media through background and content when choosing a new display for the Harris Art Gallery.

“All the art pieces are dynamic not static,” freshman political science major Jose Banuelos Con said.

“In essence, Rodin not only puts a bit of his own soul into the art work, but gives them their own persona or being.”

Rodin was a French sculptor, painter, graphic artist and illustrator. He is known as the founder of he impressionistic style in the art of the sculpture and his works “The Thinker” and “The Kiss.” Rodin succeeded greatly with “The Age of the Bronze” in 1876. At the highest peak of his career, Rodin was known as the greatest sculptor since Michelangelo.

He was honored with a solo pavilion at the Paris World Exposition in 1900.

Johnson said Rodin created sculptures that embody dynamic movements and natural gestures. Rodin’s style reveals human condition through tactile tension and fluid beauty. His modes of working were to employ direct observation to capture his subjects.

“I am pretty keen on ‘Torso of the Walking Man,’ which is a terrific example of Rodin’s ability to capture human movement, movement structure; all of that in a still static sculpture,” Johnson said.

“Torso of the Walking Man,” modeled in 1878-1879, displays Rodin’s carefully constructed detail of a man’s athletically bold muscles that translate into confidence and strength.

His piece “Venus,” also known as Aphrodite, is a figure used by many artists as a work in their collections.

Rodin created her as less of a mythic ideal and more of a physical per- son with graceful and focused physical attributes, Johnson said.

Modeled in 1888, the piece is a beautiful figure of a woman with a smooth, slender stature. She has her arms up while on her tiptoes like a ballerina.

“You can feel her sorrow,” said Kenneth Curiel, sophomore business administration major, referring to “Tragic Muse.” Curiel said there was something beautiful, yet dark about the piece.

The exhibit was made possible by the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation. The “Mirror of the Soul” exhibit will continue to be showcased at the Harris Art Gallery through March 29. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and by appointment.

Ingrid Rodriguez can be reached at

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