Eternal Springtime

French
modeled about 1881; cast about 1916–17
Auguste (René) Rodin (French, 1840–1917)


Object Place: Europe, France

Dimensions

62.86 cm (24 3/4 in.)

Accession Number

1993.50

Medium or Technique

Metal; bronze

On View

Sidney and Esther Rabb Gallery (Gallery 255)

Collections

Europe

Classifications

Sculpture

Two young nude figures meet in kiss. Her legs graze the ground and her upper body is held in a taut arc and supported by the embrace of the male figure. He is posed precariously on the edge of a rocky mound, crossing his legs, extending his left foot beyond the sculpture base and his left arm in a full and graceful reach into space. On the rear, the male figure sports small pair of double wings, and female figure has a mass of floating hair, joining the flame motif on base.


Rodin modeled Eternal Springtime while planning his monumental project The Gates of Hell, the bronze doors inspired by Dante’s Inferno that were commissioned in 1880 for a planned museum of decorative arts. The Gates of Hell were never finished; the original plaster version is now in the Musée d’Orsay, Paris. Although Rodin ultimately did not include Eternal Springtime in his composition for the doors, it is among his most celebrated works, daring in the precarious pose of the figures, their lean bodies extended into space, and in the complexity of convex and concave curves as the bodies intertwine.

Inscription

On proper left: à ma chere cousine Henriette Coltat, affectueux souvenir, A. Rodin. On back left: Alexis Rudier/Fondeur Paris

Provenance

About 1916-1917, cast by Rodin for his cousin, Henriette Coltat, Paris. 1922, Musée Rodin, Paris; 1922, sold by Musée Rodin to Mario Garcia Menocal (b. 1866 - d. 1941), 3rd President of Cuba. 1971, Antique Porcelain Company, New York (stock no. 9702); June 11, 1971, sold by the Antique Porcelain Company to William A. Coolidge (d. 1992), Topsfield and Cambridge, MA; 1993, bequest of William A. Coolidge to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 27, 1993)

Credit Line

Bequest of William A. Coolidge