Charles Baudelaire

Auguste Rodin (1840 -1917)

Circa 1892


H. 22.2 cm ; W. 19 cm ; D. 21.5 cm


Cast by Georges Rudier, for the museum collections.

Rodin had a passion for modelling from life and never worked without a sitter.When he was awarded commissions for commemorative monuments, he therefore used subterfuge: he looked for someone who could have been the deceased’s double to employ as a model. He asked the draughtsman Louis Malteste, “who had all the characteristic features of the Baudelarian mask” (Anonymous, 1892), to pose for the head of Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), originally designed for a monument – “statue, bust or medallion” (Anonymous, 1892), – a project which eventually fell through.


Rodin, who had illustrated Flowers of Evil in 1887-88, had immense respect for the poet and sought to show all of Baudelaire’s genius in a simple head: “What is a statue, in fact? A body, arms and legs covered in ordinary clothes? What use are they to Baudelaire, who lived only through his mind? His head is all that matters,” (Anonymous, 1892-1).

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