Rodin Works: Torso of Adèle


photo: Bruno Jarret, in Eros & CreativityThe 'Torso of Adèle' was probably created as early as autumn 1880, named after Rodin's favourite model Adèle Abruzzezzi. The plaster shows the upper body as an arc bent backwards. Later this form was repeated in 'Eternal Springtime' and 'Fallen Angel'. Because of its orgastic connotations, the sculpture is often interpreted as one of Rodin's most appealing hommages to female sexuality; it is also one of his rare works whose title remained connected to the person of a model.Triton torso on facade of Villa Neptune, Nice. Photo source: Lampert

As a photo kept by Albert Elsen demonstrates, however, the morphological origin of this torso is to be found in the sexless twin Triton figures Rodin created in collaboration with CharlesPhoto source: Jarassé Cordier as a facade decoration of the Villa Neptune at the Promenade des Anglais in Nice in 1879 - one year earlier. Here like in 'The Kneeling Fauness', Rodin had no inhibitions to switch the gender of his subjects - or to simply omit their genitals, like he did with Paolo in the famous 'Kiss'.

As a plaster cast in the Musée Rodin shows, Rodin must have broken the 'Torso' between navel and abdomen, which allowed him to adjust the degree of twisting  by rotating the halves along the metal armament inside.

Despite its early date of creation, a photograph published in 1888, demonstrates that the 'Torso', which was later was to become a prominent element in the upper left hand corner of the tympanum, by that date still was absent in 'The Gates of Hell'.


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