The Cathedral, Rodin

The Cathedral, Rodin
The Cathedral, Rodin

Many times throughout the history of art we are faced with works that contain a hidden iconography or already in the artistic avant-garde whose conception is determined by a deep argument determined by the artist, however, we are rarely faced with a simpler object whose meaning is more complex than in the work of Rodin's Cathedral.


The French artist showed throughout his career a special inclination for hands, it was well known that Rodin stored in his studio a good number of casts of hands well belonging to his own sculptures or copied from sculptures by other artists; Be that as it may, the truth is that the sculptor found in the simplicity of his forms a communicative element that in La Catedral led to his ultimate consequences.

François Auguste Rodin (1840 – 1917) is one of the most outstanding sculptors in the history of art, in fact the sculptures of this artist are considered a turning point in the statuary conception and are the beginning of the modern sculpture. Throughout his life there was no lack of multiple disputes and envy that accused Rodin of illicit practices to achieve the perfection of his works. However, the artist was a highly talented sculptor who in the early years of his training devoted himself to profound study of anatomy, which was reflected in his sculptures. Rodin wasRejected from the Academy of Fine Arts in Paris, he had to study at the Petit Ecole, dedicating himself to mathematics and design. However, over time his works became very famous.

At the beginning of the 20th century, around the year 1907, the artist sculpted a small work – barely sixty-five centimeters high and thirty wide – that was far from the large productions that he used to design. It's about two hands, both on the right, reaching up and trying to merge into one. In the hands -one of a man and the other of a woman- the marks of the tools with which the sculptor has worked can be appreciated, while at the same time a fragmentation of the human body can be observed, one of the most common characteristics in the contemporary works.

But the hands that Rodín designs are as important as the void that is created between them,in fact the artist begins to count on the hollow space as one more element of the own work, a concept that artists like Pablo Gargallo would later take to its ultimate consequences. In fact, if the work receives the name of the cathedral, it is because that empty space generated between both hands is similar to the interior structure of a Gothic cathedral in which the right and left sections meet at the key of the vault. Many have wanted to see praying hands in the arrangement of these hands, which could fit in with the sculptural conception of the work.

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