02 February 2014
The Gates of Hell
|Date||c. 1880-90/1917 (model), 1930-33 (cast)|
|Size (cm)||540 x 390 x 100|
|Credit Line||Matsukata Collection|
In 1880 Rodin was commissioned by the government to create a set of doors for the entrance of the newly planned construction of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris. A fervent reader of Dante, Rodin had already created a group work in 1876 entitled Ugolino and his Sons based on the Divine Comedy, and without hesitation, he decided to create a series of "low reliefs depicting the Divine Comedy" for the doors. He immediately began from work on the project, basing his compositional forms on Ghiberti's Gates of Heaven on the Baptistry in Florence. In his first preparatory sketches, Rodin divided the right and left doors into four vertically arranged panels with scenes from "Hell" shown in low relief over the eight panels with a giant figure placed in the center. However he lost Dante's mythical order and it descended into a chaotic world. Rather than Dante's world, he has entered the Hell found in man's mind, expressed in Baudelaire's poetry, Les Fleurs du Mal. The third stage of the 3-D clay model, which became the gate's final composition, can be seen in the colored plaster cast model. Both the content and the compositional forms have been transformed into chaos in this final version, which generally represents the forms of the completed bronze work. For the rest of his life Rodin was involved in the creation of this work, and he created numerous works which are independent from The Gates of Hell. The man sitting on the center of the tympanum staring down at the figures descending to hell is The Thinker, and The Three Shades standing on top of The Gatse are closely related to the form of Adam. Meditation and Standing Fauness on the right edge of the tympanum and Orpheus and the Maenads stand on the left hand. In the lower part of the right door, Fugit Amor, and in the center of the left door Nereides. The relief on the left attached pillar La Belle Heaulmière and above that pillar Fallen Caryatid. The relief carving I am Beautiful is placed on the upper part of the attached pillar on the right and on the left of The Thinker, the male and female figures separated as Crouching Woman and the man with his body bent back from the upper part of the left door. This large monument was never actually used and it was not cast in bronze during Rodin's lifetime. The Gates were finally cast in the 1920s, and including recent casts, there are now seven Gates in bronze throughout the world. The first two bronzes were cast under commission by Kojiro Matsukata. (Source: Masterpieces of the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 2009, cat. no.129)
Kojiro Matsukata; Sequestered by the French Government, 1944; Returned to Japan, 1959.
- The Masterpieces of the Ex-Matsukata Collection, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 14 May 1960 - 10 July 1960, S-45
- Rodin, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 23 July 1966 - 11 September 1966, cat. no. 12
- Rodin et la Porte de l’Enfer (Rodin and the Gates of Hell), National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 21 October 1989 - 17 December 1989, cat. no. 1
- Tanka at the National Museum of Western Art: An Encounter between Poet and Art, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 25 July 2000 - 29 October 2000, cat. no. 3
- August Rodin / Eugène Carrière, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 7 March 2006 - 4 June 2006, cat. no. 69
- Traces of Hands: Sculpture and Drawings by Rodin and Bourdelle from the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 3 November 2012 - 27 January 2013, cat. no. 65
- Mabilleau, Léopold. Le Salon du Champ de Mars. Gazette des Beaux-Arts. vol. 4, ser. 3, 1890, pp. 474-493.
- Geffroy, Gustave. Auguste Rodin et son œuvre. La Plume, 1900, p. 36.
- Fontainas, André, Revue de mois, art moderne. Mercure de France. Vol. 35, Juillet 1900, pp 268-270.
- Mauclair, Camille. The Decorative Sculpture of Auguste Rodin. The International Monthly. London, Februay 1901, pp. 176-177.
- Morey, Charles Rufus. The Art of Auguste Rodin. Art Bulletin. No. 4, September 1918 , pp. 149-150.
- Bénédite, Léonce. Le Musée Rodin: Catalogue sommaire des œuvres d'Auguste Rodin et autres œuvres d'art de la donation Rodin. Paris, 1924, no. 256.
- Roger-Marx, Claude. Le tableau de salon. Avant la destruction d'un Monde. 1935, p. 180.
- Bourdelle, Antoine. La sculpture et Rodin. Emile-Paul, 1937, pp. 141-144.
- Elsen, Albert E. Rodin's Gate of Hell. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1960
- Elsen, Albert. Auguste Rodin: Reading on his Life and Work. New Jersey, Prentice-Hall; Englewood Cliffs, 1965 , pp. 66-80.
- Sutton, Denys. Triumphant Satyr: The World of Auguste Rodin. New York, Hawthorn Books, 1966, no. 15.
- Champigneulle, Bernard. Rodin. London, Thames and Hadson, 1967, pp. 127-149.
- Descharnes, Robert. Auguste Rodin. Paris, Edita Lausanne, 1967, pp. 68-105.
- Jianou, lonel; Goldscheider, C. Rodin. Paris, Arted Editions d'Art, 1969, p. 87, no. 12.
- Tancock, John L. The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin. Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1976, no. 1.
- De Caso; Jacques et Patricia Sanders. Rodin's sculpture: A Critical Study of the Spreckels collection. San Francisco, The Fine Arts Museum, 1977, pp. 121-129.
- Elsen, Albert E. In Rodin's Studio: A Photographic Record of Sculpture in the Making. Oxford, Phaidon, 1980, p. 164, no. 18.
- Elsen, Albert E. "The Gates of Hell: What they are about and something of their history". Rodin Rediscovered (exh. cat.). Washington, National Gallery of Art, 1981, pp. 63-79.
- Schmoll-Eisenwerth J. A. Rodin-Studien. Munich, Prestel-Verlag, 1983, pp. 215-232.
- Lampert, Catherine. Rodin Sculpture and Drawing. London, Arts Council of Great Britain, 1986, pp. 43-182.
- Facos, Michelle; Ambrosini, Lynne. Rodin: The Cantor Gift to the Brooklyn Museum. New York, The Brooklyn Museum, 1987, pp. 60-93.
- Rodin: Selected Works from The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. The National Museum of Western Art ed. Kurayoshi Museum, 1988, nos. 12-23.
- Rodin et la Porte de l'Enfer (exh. cat.). The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 1989
- The Old Matsukata Collection. Kobe City Museum, ed. Kobe, "Matsukata Korekushon Ten" Jikkoiinkai, 1990, cat. no. S-59.
- Auguste Rodin: Das Höllentor: Zeichnungen und Plastik (exh. cat.). München, Prestel-Verlag, 1991
- Butler, Ruth. Rodin: The Shape of Genius. New Heaven/ London, Yale University Press, 1993, pp. 141-149, 151-157, 214-225.
- Martinez, Rose-Marie. Rodin: L'artiste face à l'état. Nouvelles éditions Séguier, 1993, pp. 174-176.
- Elsen, Albert E. "The Mondernity of Rodin's Gate of Hell". Symposium: The Modernity of Rodin. Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, 1994 , pp. 136-142.
- Levkoff, Mary L. Rodin in his Time. Los Angeles, Museum Associates; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1994, pp. 54-57.
- A.Rodin Wing. Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, 1994, pp. 68-75.
- Le Normand-Romain, Antoinette. Rodin: le musée et ses collections. Paris, Éditions Scala; Musée Rodin, 1996, pp. 33-43.
- Rodin and Michelangelo: A Study in Artistic Inspiration. Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1997, pp. 44-47, 60-67, 212-215.
- Le Normand-Romain, Antoinette. Rodin: La Porte de l'Enfer. Paris, Musée Rodin, 1999
- Rodin Sculpture and Drawings (exh. cat.). Canberra, National Gallery of Australia, 2001, pp. 26-41.
- Rodin en 1900: l'exposition de l'alma (exh. cat.). Musée du Luxembourg, 12 March - 15 July 2001, Paris, Réunion des musées nationaux, 2001, no. 81.
- Audeh, Aida. "Rodin's Gates of Hell: Sculptural illustration od Dante's Divine Comedy". Rodin A Magnificent Obsession. Ross, Iain; Snow, Anthea eds. London, Merrell, 2001, pp. 93-126.
- Le Normand-Romain, Antoinette. Rodin: La porte de l'enfer. Paris, Editions du musée Rodin, 2002
- Elsen, Albert. Rodin's Art: The Rodin Collection of the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University. Barryte, Bernard ed. New York, Oxford University Press, 2003, pp. 40-53, 155-174, no. 37.
- Mitchell, Claudine. Rodin: The Zola of Sculpture. Aldershot, Ashgate Publishing, 2004, pp. 24-28, 73-94.
- Le Normand-Romain, Antoinette. "Jigoku no Mon: Rodin no Raifuwaku". Le parcours d'un génie. Kyoto, Tankosya, 2005, pp. 114-128.
- Le parcours d'un génie. Kyoto, Tankosya, 2005, pp. 354-355, no. 18.
- Masterpieces: The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, The Western Art Foundation, 2013 (Japanese, preface in Japanese and English), no. 129, col. repr.