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Clay Model of Eustache de Saint Pierre
Victor Pannelier (1840 -After 1917)
H. 37.7 cm ; W. 16.7 cm
Studio at 117, boulevard de Vaugirard. Retouched in pen and black ink, and annotated in graphite pencil : "plein".
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When working on The Burghers of Calais , Rodin, in true academic style, made nude models of his figures first, to study the muscle structure, before cladding them in their famous tunics, as can be seen in several photographs by Charles Bodmer. But when he began to clothe his heroes, including the present figure of Eustache de Saint Pierre, he called upon the services of Victor Pannelier, who produced a genuine illustrated report.
The additions to the robe in pen and ink made by Rodin show how the sculptor wanted to emphasize the contrasting light and shade effects, thus indicating how this photograph should be reproduced when used as an illustration. As when photographing Jean d’Aire and Andrieu d’Andres, Pannelier opted for an oblong format, which he adapted so that only the figure was visible. Nevertheless, the image abounds in details of Rodin’s working environment. Take, for example, the reproduction of Raphael’s fresco, Dispute of the Sacrament, pinned onto the studio wall.
In 1899, the engraver Auguste Léveillé would use this photograph again as the model for a print in Léon Maillard’s book Auguste Rodin statuaire and an issue of La Revue Illustrée, since it was impossible to publish a photograph directly. Many of the details were lost in the print. Neither the medium of the work nor the studio surroundings were recognizable and, as a result, the sculpture seems to be standing in a museum environment, totally out of context with its elaboration.