New exhibition in Paris explores Rodin’s obsession with Egypt 

1 min read
"The Thinker" is one of the most famous sculptures garden of the Rodin Museum in Paris, where curators are now taking a look at the strong influence of Egyptian culture on his work. Photo: Daniela David/dpa

Framed, mounted and on pedestals – Egyptian sculptures and historic objects could be found all over the studio of Auguste Rodin, where the artist liked to study them and use them as inspiration. 

The Rodin Museum in Paris is now focusing on the French sculptor’s fascination with Egypt and its art, a side of the artist which has been largely unexplored until now.

As part of the “Rêve d’Égypte” (Dream of Egypt) exhibition, more than 400 exhibits will illustrate the country’s influence on Rodin (1840-1917) and his work. 

The objects come, among others, from the Louvre and from the artist’s extensive antique collection, which numbers over 6,000 objects, including about 1,000 from Egypt. 

More than just a show about one artist’s fascination with Egypt, the show also takes a look at Egypt itself through the stories of the smugglers, writers, artists, antiquarians and Egyptologists who provided Rodin with material and inspiration. ©dpa

The exhibition is presented in sequences that alternate between Rodin’s Egyptian studio and his Egyptian museum, at the Villa des Brillants in Meudon and the Hôtel Biron in Paris.

The visit also reveals several narratives of XIXth century visions of Egypt; they conjure the intermediaries, writers, artists, antiquarians and Egyptologists, who guided the artist down an Egyptian path by feeding him various visual references, stories or artifacts.

The constitution of Rodin’s collection thus reveals the history of the art market and antiquarians of this period. It is part of the Champollion commemorative programme this year, organised by France Mémoire.

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