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Analytical essay over “The Thinker”

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I chose to write my analytical essay over “The Thinker” sculpture, designed by Auguste Rodin and currently located in Tokyo, Japan. This sculpture was executed in 1882 and its original size was 98 cm wide and 189 cm high. Although, this sculpture was enlarged in size when it was determined to be an independent sculpture. There are currently multiple versions of the sculpture today since “The Thinker” is known all around the world. This is because the original name was “The Poet” since this sculpture was originally supposed to be made as an add on to another piece of artwork called “The Gates of Hell”.

The Thinker was part of a commission by the Museum of Decorative Arts, which is located in Paris, to sculpt a monumental door based on the Divine Comedy of Dante. Each of the statues in the piece represented one of the characters in the poem (Statue. com). In the early stages of creating this sculpture, it was supposed to represent Dante himself at the top of the door reflecting on the many scenes below him. However, now we can conclude that Rodin wanted to make it more complex and therefore, put it into more universal terms.

People have raised questions on whether or not this was truly supposed to represent Dante, which was a character in his poem who was supposed to be entering the Gates of Hell. However, there are many red flags. While Dante was fully clothed throughout the story, The Thinker is completely naked, and The Thinker, in no way corresponds with Dante’s original figure. The sculpture is nude, as Rodin wanted a heroic figure, in the tradition of Michelangelo, and to represent a strong intellect. When you first look at the artwork you survey it with a contemplative feeling.

Glancing at the piece of art, you see a bronze, nude, male figure that is over life size and in a deep meditation. This makes you believe he is battling with a deep internal struggle. The position of his hand resting under his chin make you think he is in very deep thought and can often symbolize philosophy on many levels. The sculpture is very exaggerated since the piece of art is supposed to be seen from a lower angle. The original material was plaster, but since the newer models are being made with bronze, it makes it look much smoother and approachable.

However, the size and nude display shows a sense of self-worth and unity. The statue has a variety of proportions with many different balances because of its simplicity. Since the statues mood would be described as calm but anxious, it has a unique harmony to it because it is unlike any other sculptures. When looking at The Thinker, you often see images of intelligence and deep thought but others can imply that he is simply daydreaming or pondering about life. There are multiple versions of The Thinker located all around the world, however, there are other statues that also convey the elements of meditation and self-thought.

When I think of The Thinker I also think of the Great Buddha of Kamakura which is located in Kamakura, Japan. This sculpture was built in 1252 and is 13. 35 meters high. It represents many things about the city of Kamakura. It is a monumental outdoor bronze statue of Amida Buddha (“Sacred Destinations”). This statue also is based on mediation, thought, and the urge to discover more. Although, looking at The Thinker is more anxious while the man looks like he is in some sort of trance and The Great Buddha of Kamakura expresses more self-peace and unity, I believe they also express many of the same elements.

I think that Rodin wanted the people viewing this to depict him as a normal, every day man who is in a deep self-mediation about his life. He made this relate to every one since everyone is forced to think about themselves at some point in their lives. The emotion that the artwork conveys is curiosity and sadness when discovering more. Some say that the statue also displays signs of transcendentalism because it shows a man, no different from anyone else, closed off from society and only at peace with his own thoughts. And when you are alone you come up with the best philosophies.


Statue.com – The Thinker by Rodin Sculpture, www.statue.com/site/the-thinker-statue.html

“Sacred Destinations.” Great Buddha of Kamakura- Kamakura, Japan, www.sacred-destinations.com/japan/kamakura-great-buddha

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