Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Rodin and roses

One of my favorite museums in Paris is the Musee Rodin housed in the historic Hotel Biron.  Designed in 1732 by architect Jean Aubert (debatedly with help from Jacques Gabriel), the building has been home to the Rodin museum since 1919 and recently undergone a huge renovation.
Now located in central Paris, when built the house was on the outskirts of town. It still feels separated from the city due to the large gardens.
As it turns out early June when I was there is the perfect time to visit as the roses are at their peak. Each day large crowds patiently waited to gain entry.
The grounds are dotted with numerous Rodin works.  This one, "The Three Shades",  reminds me of Beyonce's "single ladies" video!
The ever popular "The Thinker" from 1903 is seen here in front of the Chapel which houses exhibition space and gift shop.
A current exhibit which I really enjoyed were these quotes attributed to Rodin lining the trees in the garden. This photo reads Rodin and food - "I preferred simple dishes such as omelets, stews, and apple tarts.  I enjoyed a good red wine with my meals.  Monet and I had the same wine merchant! In my opinion, the greatest wisdom lay in drinking, eating, sleeping, and loving."
The rear of the house facing the large garden is a quiet spot as it is cut off from the lawn by a large tent.
The pediment and decorations on the rear are more elaborate than the front facade. Perhaps the same decoration was removed from the front of the house by former residents?
 At the rear of the lawn is a large reflecting pond housing yet another Rodin sculpture.
Great views of the adjacent golden dome of Les Invalides, where Napoleon is buried, are to be seen here.
 No one's sculpture is as evocative or sensual as Rodin's work.
 The roses however were as artful as the sculpture. Sadly most were not scented.
 Every color under the rainbow.
 All with lovely neoclassical architecture as the backdrop.
 Can you see why this may be my favorite spot in all of Paris?
 The front porch has this rather odd detail where the stairs cross in front of a basement window; I love quirks like this!
 Once inside the views of the garden are lovely but no longer the focus.
The self-guided tour through the house is the most thoughtful presentation of an artist's works I've seen.One moves through the house with each room focusing on different areas of Rodin's life.
While many of the original mouldings and boiseries had been stripped from the house during the 19th century when it was converted to a girl's school, some have been found and re-instated.
 Seeing the art in surroundings such as these is such a pleasure: no bland white boxes here.
 Rodin's 'The Hand of God' sits in the entrance hall - perhaps one of my favorite pieces.
The grand stair has simple detailing but creates an enormous impression as does the light filled entry hall.
In contrast to the opulent guardrail the handrail is a lovely simple iron rod; Love this treatment in contrasts!
 Looking down into the entry hall.
 Below is 'Pallas with the Parthenon' - Rodin had a sense of humor!
Alongside Rodin's works are those of his friends whom he collected; one instantly recognizes the Renoir below.
Rodin's marble sculpture of the 'centauress' from 1887 almost feels to me as a horse morphing into a woman.
 One forgets that we're in the center of Paris, but on the 2nd floor there are glimpses of the city surrounding the garden.
The parquet floors are lovely. The entire house has been restored but not in an immaculate sense. It feels like the old house it is and I love that.
 Looking into the garden below from the 2nd floor.
Rodin also collected ancient sculpture which he would reference in his work. These ancient heads are mounted in a really artful way.

 Here Rodin playfully added a plaster head to an ancient bronze body.
The Musee Rodin is a must for any visit to Paris, don't miss it! Also while there notice the apartment building directly across from the garden entrance with my favorite iron and glass front door in all of Paris!