rodin’s “eve” at the städel museum

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Whenever I’m feeling not quite myself, such as long quiet Sundays or those inevitable times you get homesick, a trip to a museum helps me to feel at home in my own skin again.

Today I made my way against the chilly breeze to the Städel Museum, up through the halls of the old masters and finally to the more modern wing. I’ve seen this sculpture by Rodin of Eve many times before, both here and in other museums, but I learned a few new things about it by actually reading the information plaque on the wall.

Apparently the piece was technically unfinished by Rodin, and would have been part of a larger project inspired by Dante’s Inferno.

Rodin’s model for the sculpture was actually pregnant, making her character her appear as neither innocent nor truly wicked, but what they called a “primordial mother figure.”

And finally, in 1899 when the sculpture was first exhibited, it was the first modern sculpture to be shown without a pedestal, but at eye level for the viewer — as it is displayed in the Städel, just standing full size on the floor towards one side of a room, so that if there are many people around, you wouldn’t even notice this piece wasn’t one of them.

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