The Gates of Hell

Auguste RodinModeled 1880-1917; cast 1926-1928

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia, United States

In 1880 Rodin was commissioned to create a set of bronze doors for a new museum in Paris. Inspired by The Divine Comedy, written by Dante Alighieri (Italian, c. 1265–1324), Rodin planned to decorate the doors with characters that Dante met on his fictional journey through hell. The sculptor eventually discarded the idea of a strict narrative and instead created a weightless, chaotic world filled with more than 200 figures in the throes of pain and despair. Although the planned museum never came to fruition, Rodin worked on the sculpture for nearly thirty-seven years, periodically adding, removing, or modifying elements on it.


  • Title: The Gates of Hell
  • Creator Lifespan: 1840/1917
  • Creator Nationality: French
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Meudon, France
  • Creator Birth Place: Paris, France
  • Date Created: Modeled 1880-1917; cast 1926-1928
  • Location: France
  • Physical Dimensions: d33.38 in (Overall)
  • Provenance: Bequest of Jules E. Mastbaum, 1929
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: © 2014 Philadelphia Museum of Art. All rights reserved.
  • External Link: Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Medium: Bronze
  • Description: Foundry mark lower right side: Alexis Rudier/Fondeur. PARIS
  • Cast by: Cast by the founder Alexis Rudier, Paris, 1874 - 1952
  • Artist/Maker: Auguste Rodin, French, 1840 - 1917

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