Young Mother in the Grotto - Rodin

Is this from a single piece of stone: http://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/138398.html. I stress that this is the version at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Yes, why would you think it’s not?

Have you seen it in person?

It’s quite small - just over 2 feet tall by a foot wide.

Yes, I saw it yesterday. :slight_smile:

I ask simply because, knowing next to nothing about sculptural techniques, it seems an amazing achievement, and because looking closely at it, it seems there are “seams” where the bodies of the mother and child meet the stone enclosure. I looked closely at this, but it I would readily accept this was just an optical illusion, rather than some sort of mortar used to attach the two pieces of stone.

Since this is about a work of art, let’s move it over to Cafe Society.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

The notation next to the photo is a little confusing. It says, “Auguste Rodin, French, 1840 - 1917. Carved by Jean Escoula, French, 1851 - 1911.” So whose work is it? I thought Rodin mostly did bronzes, not carved marble.

Googling the topic, it seems that Rodin’s sculpture and design was much less complete, and very obviously one block; some versions say cast plaster…

So it appears Escoula carved his own version based on Rodin’s design and studies.

I’d be curious to know how complete the sculpture is, carving marble in restricted places (the inside half of her face, for example) would be fairly tricky.

My guess is that Escoula was a student of Rodin, and that he was carving to Rodin’s design. But that should still give Escoula first billing.

I don’t think I’ve every seen an artwork credited as in that link.

With many works credited to a master, it can be assumed that a student or protege did parts of it - background, secondary figures, etc. and it’s still a Rodin, a Matisse, a whatever.

But if the piece is wholly executed by a student or assistant, even to a master’s design (and, it’s assumed, supervision) - shouldn’t the piece be credited to the student, perhaps with a secondary credit to the master?

Then there’s things like big-work sculptors who direct a crew to cut, weld, shape and erect large works… but they at least created a plaster or scale model first, right?

I’m just flummoxed at how that could be credited as a Rodin… other than that, of course, that brings more respect, visitors and cred to the museum.

It’s kind of like a piece of music. Bach’s Goldberg Variations performed by Glenn Gould for instance. Bach thought it up and Gould executed it in his particular way.

Shouldn’t it say by Escoula, after Rodin ?

I find this:

“Jean Escoula worked as an assistant carver for two of the greatest sculptors of the 19th century, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux and Auguste Rodin, while following his own career at the same time.”

As assistant, presumably he carved the piece under Rodin’s direction, or did a lot of the grunt work for Rodin? The French Wikipedia page does not list it as one of his works in a public collection.

I would think so but since it’s so close to the original, maybe there’s some kind of art-titling criteria that prevents it.