Rodin's "The Thinker"
Few sculptures are as iconic as Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker. Lost in thought, seated with eyes cast downwards, muscles taught with exertion, he embodies the mental struggle and anguish of creativity.
According to Rodin, "What makes my Thinker think is that he thinks not only with his brain, with his knitted brow, his distended nostrils and compressed lips, but with every muscle of his arms, back, and legs, with his clenched fist and gripping toes."
Conceived in 1880 as part of Rodin’s epic creation, The Gates of Hell (a pair of bronze doors commissioned for a decorative arts museum in Paris), The Thinker has since become an independent work that exists today in many casts and sizes.
The Gates of Hell was inspired by Dante's Inferno, with the sculpture, modeled after the poet himself, as its crowning element. Initially entitled The Poet, the contemplative figure represents all creators. Rodin himself identified with The Thinker, and a version of the sculpture keeps vigil over his tomb.