H. de Roos - What is an original Rodin?


With regard to bronze casting, we should acknowledge that every bronze cast  per se is the result of multiplication. Rodinīs starting point was the clay model. As long as the clay model was unfinished, it was kept wet, so that the clay would not crack. An when the model was ready, it was reproduced to create an "original plaster" or impression. In this process, the original clay model was destroyed. 

In the creux perdu process, the moulds used to produce the plaster were destroyed as well; they had to be broken open in order to remove the impression. In the bon creux process, the mould was composed of  several pieces fitting together and could be used many times again to produce more plasters.

So the plaster and the bon creux moulds replace the original clay model and become the starting point for a chain of multiplication.

This chain - from the clay model, the bon creux mould and the first-generation plaster to the piece mould and the investment mould and finally to the bronze - is demonstrated in the R.O.M. exhibition, as well as on www.plaster2bronze.com.
I also refer to the Cantor Foundation Website under www.cantorfoundation.org, that has an extra section on bronze casting.

Illustration: chiselling of the bronze after casting, from the Gruppo Mondiale Est. brochure. To see a series of photos illustrating the lost wax process, click here.

Although Rodin would not participate in all these steps personally, he often supervised the process and gave directions regarding the finishing and patination of the bronze and finally authorized the work, when not by signing it personally or by presenting or dedicating it, at least by paying his praticiens, craftsmen and the foundry workers for their labour.

Monique Laurent indicates that from 1900 till 1915, Rodin heavily relied on the judgement of his oild friend Jean Limet, who patinated most of the bronzes during this period. The casts were even sent directly from the foundry to Limet, who reported on their quality to Rodin. It should be noted, though, that this procedure was based on "a climate of great confidence, hardly the rule for Rodin, whose collaborators deplored his distrust and changeable humor" [Laurent, in Elsen, p. 292].

Tancock mentions an example of Rodinīs demanding attitude even within his relation to Limet:

Rodin was notoriously hard to please when it came to the finishing of his bronzes. Judith Cladel related that Jean Limet, who specialized in the patination of bronzes, gave three different patinas to The Walking Man. (..) before Rodin was satisfied with it. (..) Many references in the correspondence attest to the fact that it was frequently the achieving of a rich patina that caused delays in the delivery of works that were commissioned from him. 

[Tancock, p. 33]

In the next Chapter, we will see the way Rodin supervised and authorized the execution of his sculptures must be considered in our definitions of an original work.





Advanced Search and Search Rules

Advanced Search & Search Rules

Terms of Use  Copyright Policy    Menu missing?  Back one page  Reload this page   Top of this page 

Notice: Museum logos appear only as buttons linking to Museum Websites and do not imply any
formal approval of RODIN-WEB pages by these institutions. For details see Copyright Policy.
Đ Copyright 1992 - September 2003 for data collection & design by Hans de Roos - All Rights Reserved.
Last update of this page: 17.09.2003