Rodin and Claudel: the sculptor, his muse and the Musee

Travel-wise we’ve moved well beyond, but I can’t seem to leave Paris behind. You understand, I’m sure.

After lunch on Thursday we ambled over to the Musee Rodin, which is just a stroll from the Invalides.

The CE in the garden at the Musee Rodin with his beloved Dome les Invalides in the background.

I wasn’t quite sure if the Musee Rodin was going to be a “must-see” or not – The Thinker will never be the same for those of us who remember Dobie Gillis and Maynard G. Krebs, and I had already seen one of the eight copies of Les Portes de l’Enfer many years back.

What I didn’t realize is that the Musee is housed in the Hotel Biron, where Auguste Rodin lived and worked while in Paris during the early 1900’s. It was at his own direction that the building later became a museum for his works.

The imposing Hotel Biron, site of the Musee Rodin.

The gardens are a stunning backdrop for sculptor’s work, and when you enter the building, there is a whiff of time travel – a sense that Mr. Rodin could step around a corner at any moment.

The spectacular Burghers of Calais

Musee interior (image from

As we walked from room to room, we realized that many of the sculptures were not created by Rodin, but by Camille Claudel, a talented seventeen-year-old student of Rodin’s who became his protege, muse and mistress.

Camille Claudel (wikipedia image)

She was, of course, beautiful and things did, of course, end badly. Rodin was disinclined to leave his long-time companion, Rose Beuret, and Claudel never recovered from the final break in the relationship in 1898. By the early 1900’s, she began to manifest unmistakable signs of psychosis. She ultimately destroyed many of the sculptures she created, and, sadly, lived the last thirty years of her life in hospital psychiatric wards.

This sculpture of Claudel's "The Gossips" is carved from onyx.

Claudel's bust of Rodin

The Gates of Hell

The story is tragic, but I suspect Claudel would be satisfied to know that, in the end, her work and her lover’s remain intermingled at the Musee.

Definitely a must-see!

About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
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4 Responses to Rodin and Claudel: the sculptor, his muse and the Musee

  1. polloplayer says:

    CE back at you with Traveler’s Tip #7,or 8:

    First, the photos taken by the Chicken Lady of the Rodin works beautifully convey the power of the pieces seen there. So many lovely things in that city. But even so, a traveler must leave Paris and experience other locations. This leads us to today’s TT: Budgeting (You should have known this was coming.)

    Everyone must face this issue (I know that neither Bill nor Warren are reading this) so let’s meet it head on. At some point en route each of us must draw a line in that bloody sand as we face the Travel Monster seeks to possess all of your life savings as well as your home and car. For each of us, the line is drawn differently. For the Travel Tipster it has been drawn on laundry.

    Now the Chicken Lady wisely scheduled us for a mid-trip stay at a very nice, unnamed hotel (but one where Vivaldi surely did his best work.). Here one can recover, but must also face the laundry situation. The easiest path is to throw it all in the bag furnished by the hotel and have them do it. But wait; there is a handy price list next to the bag. Without benefit of a calculator the Tipster quickly figured that the cost of cleaning each of his items did, in every case but one, exceed the purchase price of the item (oddly untrue for the Chicken Lady’s pieces).

    Thus was the line drawn in the sand for $18 to wash the quick dry undergarments mentioned in a previous tip column. How about a shirt or pair of pants for $28? These prices drove the Tipster to his knees in front of the bathtub after angrily snatching the bottle of eau-de-whatever from the elegantly designed tray on the bathroom counter top. Within minutes the motions of a turn of the century launderwoman were underway as the suds and water sloshed noisily throughout the finely appointed suite. Money was apparently to be saved!

    But moving quickly to the tips: old fat guy’s jeans and XXXL polo shirts should only be lifted when bending one’s knees and employing the old Soviet style snatch-and-lift technique made popular in the 1976 Olympics. Tip #2: Since one’s wife is likely to consume most, if not all of the savings in partnership with the sommelier as a wonderful bottle of Pierre’s Bordeaux – 1984 – Special Vintage is consumed that night at dinner, go ahead and bring your life’s savings, home and car with you to France and enjoy the trip.

  2. Ang says:

    One thing us mother’s can bring to the table, is knowledge of things you never knew existed and quite frankly wish you could erase from memory. However, $ is involved in this situation and that is no laughing matter. Every euro saved is a euro a Parisian Cabbie doesn’t want from you. So, in order to be helpful, might I suggest disposable underpants on your next European Vacation. If you play your cards right, you may get an extra days use. So, get back out there Clark Griswald and enjoy the rest of your vaca! Just use a bit of extra deodorant….actually, forget that! Fit right in!

  3. polloamigo says:

    Well, I must say I have been anxiously awaiting the most recent TT, almost as much as seeing photos of the sights. This one is unique. Adding the Soviet-style lifting technique puts the tip in a class by itself. I can pass that on to someone around here who is known to wash old carpets in the bathtub. I think the last part of the TT’s post IS useful — and one that I would underline and stick under a certain carpet washer’s nose…enjoy the trip. Keep keeping us awash in travel tips, CE, s’il vous plait.

  4. Katherine says:

    Wonderful blog entry. I love Rodin’s sculptures. I did not know about Camille. (But am I the only one who looks at her bust of Rodin and thinks she was trying to say “the beard – it’s a little long n’est-ce pas?”)

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