Rodin Works: Fall of Icarus, Fall of Illusion, Broken Lily


'Fall of Illusion', marble, Musée RodinThe 'Fall of Icarus' shows 'The Martyr' as a winged figure dropped from heaven.

According to Greek mythology, Icarus, used the wings designed by his father Daedalus to escape from inprisonment. Ignoring Daedalus's warning, the young man flew too near to the sun; the wax with which the feathers of his wings were attached melted so that Icarus fell into the sea and drowned. Already in his sketches for 'The Gates of Hell', Rodin briefly dealt with the Icarus character. At the end of Canto XVII, Dante describes how he descended to the Malebolgo, the region of Hell where the Violent were punished, on the back of the monster Geryon, clinging to his guide Virgil:

" No greater fear... except the beast" Audeh 115/116

For the Romantic artists of the Nineteenth Century, the flight attempt of Icarus stood for the will to uplift oneself above the constraints of the material world and the petty prejudice of society. The young man dares to try 'Fall of Illusion', marble, Musée Rodin the impossible and strives for freedom. The carelessness leading to his fall does not diminuish the grandiosity of his entreprise.

Another variation of the work is named 'The Fall of Illusion, Sister of Icarus', executed in marble. 

In 1895, Rodin also created another marble group with a similar title: 'The Fallen Angel' or 'Illusion, received by the Earth' or simply 'The Illusions', this time using 'The Torso of Adèle' for the Angel/Illusion character, adding 'The Crouching Woman' as a comforting and mourning companion.

A third variant of 'Fall of Icarus' bears the title 'Broken Lily', equally referring to youthful energy and beauty cracked by brutal forces.



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