October 25, 2014
Originally part of the Gates of Hell sculpture, The Thinker has been drawn from the piece and become an iconic sculpture piece. The Gates of Hell was originally created by Auguste Rodin from 1880-1890. The Gates of Hell, as seen in Appendix A, was never fully completed and never was able to see its completion (Rodin Museum, n.d.). The Thinker, seen in Appendix B, was brought out from the piece and created on its own by Auguste Rodin in Musee Rodin in 1902. It resembled the image of Dante Alighieri. Made of marble and bronze, The Thinker has different meanings to everyone, and is careful sculpted and detailed.
The Thinker is the piece that states that one should ponder a thought or idea before proceeding. It portrays that if the wrong decision is made one may not be happy with the outcome (originating back to the original piece The Gates of Hell). For instance, if one acts instinctively on an idea they may make a decision that puts them in a worse position then they would have been in originally. Thus, extra thought and care should be taken when making decisions no matter how large or small they may seem. Many people stare at this statue and see themselves. Many years and many times, besides sitting in the nude, they have found themselves like the man sculpted. Many reasons and thoughts have brought them to a trance like a meditative thought. Many reasons can be speculated as to what this man was thinking about. Most see a man sitting in the nude and no material items present, supposedly at the gates of hell, with nothing but the minerals of the Earth. Can he see into these gates, into an afterlife which makes him wonder if the material items on this Earth mean anything? Does he see himself through these gates, or even the souls inside, and now wonders what could have been done to avoid this future? Does he wonder if his life was meaningful or even complete? This man appears to be lonely, lone of people, materials, and emotion. So it is said about the statue and its meaning, “Whatever this thinkers thoughts may be, they are not of the natural world that those typically see.” For this is part of the reason why The Thinker has become an iconic sculpture that has become one of the most popular replicated pieces in the world, the other part of that reason is the great intensity of thought that this sculpture portrays.
Originally The Thinker was titled Le Poete (The Poet) but was later changed to Le Poete/Le Pensure (The Poet/The Thinker) and finally changed to just Le Pensure or The Thinker (Cleveland Museum of the Arts, n.d.). The Thinker (originally a 27’’ piece) was originally one of the 200 plus figures that made up The Gates of Hell Sculpture. The Thinker was the center piece of the sculpture (Musee Rodin, n.d.). These figures were to each resemble the characters in hell from Dante’s epic poem, Paradise and Inferno, of 1321. The sculpture was originally a relief as part of The Gates of Hell, and then became a full round when extracted from the larger piece and placed on its own. There were approximately twenty-five of the 72’’ pieces that have been created of The Thinker as a stand-alone sculpture. Of those pieces not even ten of them were actually cast by Rodin. The piece is a subtractive piece. The Thinker originally was to represent Dante and placed at the top of The Gates of Hell and pier down as though he was thinking about all of the figures in hell (Cleveland Museum of the Arts, n.d.). The piece was originally created to be placed outdoors. The sculpture was created from bronze and marble, therefore it is a smooth piece, and the model that was used was made of clay. The subject of the sculpture was Dante Alighieri, and was molded in 1880-1881 with the enlargement occurring from 1902-1904 and being cast in 1919. The Thinker was brought out of the main sculpture and exhibited independently in 1889. On the right side of the base