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Auguste Rodin (1840 -1917)
H. 59.3 cm ; W. 29 cm ; D. 29.2 cm
Cast made by Fonderie Alexis Rudier in 1917.
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In 1856, Father Pierre-Julien Eymard (1811-68) founded the Brotherhood of the Holy Sacrament, in which Rodin took refuge, in late December 1862, three weeks after the death of his sister, Maria.
Probably commenced in February 1863, the bust of this saintly man (the process of his canonization would be concluded in 1962) was influenced by the work of David d’Angers. The herm-like form confers a certain abstract quality upon it, counterbalanced by the attention paid to the treatment of the clothes and hair. This thick, unruly head of hair accentuates the intensity of his gaze and the spirituality of the face with prominent cheekbones and thin, straight nose. The lively modelling is full of light and shadow.
Father Eymard was not only similar in spiritual outlook to Jean-Marie Vianney (1786-1859), the curate of Ars, but also resembled him physically: he had the same piercing gaze, ascetic leanness and thick mass of hair. The cult and iconography of the curate of Ars were already very widespread. The subject’s personality is emphasized by the scroll placed on his chest, bearing a fragment of Eymard’s prayer: “O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment thine.”