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Saint John the Baptist Preaching

Auguste Rodin1880 (model)

The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo

The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo

The model for this work was an Italian farmer. Rodin recognized the farmer's strong bearing and physique, and his artless mystical quality when he came to visit Rodin's studio. As soon as Rodin saw this man he thought of St. John the Baptist. The farmer took off his clothes and stood on the model dais "With his face raced, his upper body straight and proud and his two legs spread like a compass." When Rodin saw this firm pose he decided on the theme of "Walking." The Walking Man made in the process of the creation of this work is a standing figure that consists solely of a torso and legs. Both feet are on the ground and the movement of his legs "spread like a compass" show the slight shift caught in a single moment of time. If a photograph was taken of a single instant of the movement of a walking model, we would see that when the back foot is firmly on the ground, the front foot would not yet be fully on the ground, and vice versa. This figure of St. John the Baptist has both feet firmly planted on the ground. No such moment exists when a person is actually walking. However Rodin states "It is the artist who speaks the truth and the photograph that lies. This is because there is no moment when time is actually stopped." (Source: Masterpieces of the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 2009, cat. no.127)

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Details

  • Title: Saint John the Baptist Preaching
  • Date Created: 1880 (model)
  • Location Created: France
  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings: Signed front top of base: A. Rodin; Foundry mark back of base: Alexis. Rudier / Fondeur. Paris
  • Sculptor: Auguste Rodin
  • Provenance: Kojiro Matsukata; Sequestered by the French Government, 1944; Returned to Japan, 1959.
  • Physical Dimensions: w580 x h2010 x d1270 mm
  • Object title (Japanese): 説教する洗礼者ヨハネ
  • Object notes (Japanese): この作品のモデルはイタリア人の農夫であった。アトリエを訪ねてきたこの男は、その挙措動作にも強靭な肉体にも荒々しい力をみなぎらせ、また素朴で神秘的な雰囲気を漂わせていた。ロダンは彼を見てただちに洗礼者ヨハネを思い浮かべたという。着衣を取り去ってモデル台に上がった彼は「面を上げ、上半身をまっすぐに伸ばし、コンパスのように両脚を開いてしっかりと立った」。ロダンは、この決然たる彼のポーズを目にして「歩み」のテーマを着想した。本作品の制作過程において生まれた《歩く人》は、トルソに両脚だけが付け加えられた立像である。両足を地につけ、「コンパスのように」開いた両脚の動きは、それぞれ時間的にずれのある瞬間を示している。もし歩いているモデルの動きの一瞬の動作を写真に撮ってみれば、後の足がしっかりと地についている時にはまだ前の足は完全に地についていることはなく、逆の場合も同様である。この洗礼者ヨハネも両足をしっかりと地につけて立っている。人が実際に歩く時、このような状態になることは決してない。しかしロダンは言っている。「真実を語るのは芸術家であり、偽るのは写真である。何故なら現実に時間が止まることは決してないからだ」。(出典: 国立西洋美術館名作選. 東京, 国立西洋美術館, 2006. cat. no. 127)
  • Artist Name (Japanese): ロダン、オーギュスト
  • Type: Sculptures
  • Rights: Matsukata Collection, http://www.nmwa.go.jp/en/information/privacy.html
  • External Link: The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo
  • Medium: Bronze

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