Rodin, Rethinking the Fragment at Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal

Rodin: rethinking the fragment

10 August – 27 October 2018

See one of Auguste Rodin's best-known works – The Thinker. The iconic piece is on loan from the Burrell Collection in Glasgow and takes centre stage in this display which explores how the French sculptor (1840-1917) studied the fragments of ancient Greece and Rome, converting the limbless, headless torso into a new art genre.

Rodin was a radical and innovative artist who challenged the rules of contemporary sculpture. Perhaps his most important legacy was the idea that a fragment – an incomplete figure or even an isolated hand - could be a work of art in its own right. 

The Thinker was conceived to sit high up on Rodin’s The Gates of Hell. His inspiration for the sculpture included one of the most celebrated sculpture fragments to survive from antiquity, the Belvedere Torso.

The Thinker is shown alongside three objects from the British Museum:

  • A classical torso from a marble statuette of Venus (c.first century AD).
  • Royal Academy medal (c.1901), showing the Athenian Acropolis alongside the Belvedere Torso. 
  • Eugène Carrière’s portrait of Auguste Rodin, Rodin sculpting (1900).

This is the first time that Roman Art has been on show at Abbot Hall, and in this display the objects shed light on the influence of classical antiquity on Rodin.

We are the very first venue in the country to host this British Museum Partnership Spotlight Loan, generously supported by the Dorset Foundation in memory of Harry M Weinrebe.

Venues on this tour will each present the work in a different context. We are exploring Rodin’s influences and in turn his influence on Elisabeth Frink through our parallel exhibition Elisabeth Frink: Fragility and Power.

The exhibition follows Rodin and the art of ancient Greece at the British Museum, 26 April to 29 July 2018.

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  • Auguste Rodin, The Thinker, 1880-81, The Burrell Collection © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection.