This portrait of sculptor Jules Dalou who made Auguste Rodin in 1883 demonstrates how this creator was able to transfer the art of sculpture the artistic precepts of Impressionism, in principle so typical and exclusive of painting. The work itself was a bust that Rodin made of his great friend Dalou as a tribute, since he had won the medal of honor at the Salon that year 1883. The work today It is part of what is surely Rodin's best collection. That is to say, his own Rodin Museum located in the Parisian mansion where he lived and created his art, and where many of his works are kept, as well as his work tools, sketches, proofs and many of his the objects that surrounded him for much of his life.
Portrait of Jules Dalou by Rodin
Rodin had a solid artistic background and had extensively studied both classical sculpture and the art of Michelangelo. From this he was able to innovate, without provoking a deep conflict between tradition and modernity, as if it had happened with theImpressionist paintingofMonetorRenoir.
His prodigious capacity for sculpture made his talent quickly recognized and he was soon valued as a great teacher, enjoying fame, commissions and money.Possibly the most valued of his time among the different artistic disciplines. However, some of his works were not free from controversy.
The critics who fervently followed his exhibitions occasionally generated bitter debates about his sculpting and modeling. And it is that Rodin borrowed from the modern Impressionist painters their unconcern for very superficial perfect finishes. Something that we can appreciate in this work, in which there are elements of the character's face that do not have an excessively defined finish from a naturalistic point of view. In fact, Rodin used to leave parts of his works open to the viewer's imagination, so that it would be the latter who concluded them in his mind after contemplating them. And even sometimes, just as his beloved Michelangelo did centuries ago with his slaves, he even left part of his stone sculptures with pieces not carved at all.
In those cases he was really harshly criticized, since there was still a tendency that in a work of art everything had to be completely finished, burnished, sanded and polished in the case of sculpture. However, he was quite a character, he thus defended his status as an artist and considered that he was the one who should decide when a work was finished, could be sold and could be exhibited. In a way, Rodin was laying the foundation for the artist as we know him today.