Monday, January 30, 2006

Camille Claudel (and some guy named Rodin or something)

Yesterday I went to see the DIA's show Claudel and Rodin. It was really wonderful. I had a bit of bad luck as I was leaving for the show though. I slipped and fell on some wet leaves in my own yard and twisted my knee. I was in a lot of pain during this show but I still got a lot out of it. It is that good! You only have one more week to see it before it closes. And I would highly suggest getting advance tickets. My friends and I got there early and the show sold out shortly after we arrived.

Naturally I had heard of Rodin before this show. The DIA has a casting of The Thinker out front. It has always been one of their most popular pieces and one that is talked about a lot. I had never heard of Camille Claudel before though. She was a student of Rodin and also a lover. This showing of both of their works together was very interesting because one could see the influence each had on the other.

One thing that I found striking about the show was how much I found that I liked Claudel's works more than I liked Rodin's. There seemed to be more emotion in Claudel's works than in Rodin's. Or maybe it was her choice of subjects? I dont know. I have to wonder how much she may have been stuck in the shadow of Rodin simply because she was female. Would her talent have been more celebrated had she been a man? I dont know but I do know that most of the really famous artists are men. And Claudel was creating art at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th which wasnt exactly a time where women were celebrated as great artists.

I have a couple of favorites that I would like to share along with my thoughts. This first one is called "The Wave"

I had to stop and look at this one for a long time. I loved the sense of action in it and well the whole impending doom theme. Three young girls playing in the surf about to be crushed by a giant wave. YIKES! I loved the way she combined two materials for this sculpture, stone and bronze. I am not sure why that added so much to the thing other than it seemed to make the difference between flesh and water more pronounced.

This one is called "Age of Maturity" and it really is a beautiful piece. It is a sculpture of a man leaving youth behind and heading towards old age. I loved the way she saw this, how the man holds his hand back towards his youth because some part of him doesnt want to let it go but naturally he has no choice, he must go with the older woman...maturity as must we all. But this piece was more than just that, it was very personal. Claudel sculpted herself as Youth, Rodin is the man, and Rodin's longtime mistress Rose Beuret is the old woman. And there was something so raw and so exposed about that Youth figure that it just about broke my heart to see it.

It is easier to see in a related work called "The implorer." She just wants and wants but cannot have. I think she really captured the hopelessness of that feeling. Something a lot of us have felt at one time or another. I am always so moved whenever I see a work of art that shows emotions like that because whenever I have them, I always feel that I am the only one in the world to ever have felt that way. It is nice to get a reminder that most pain has been felt before and that one seldom really is alone in a feeling.


islandarts said...

WOW. I would love to be able to see that show. Thanks for the great shots and back stories, i gobble that stuff up. i saw an exhibit of Emily Carr at the provinvcial museum in Victoria and it was AWEsome. I could have stayed there all day.

Tara said...

I first heard of her when I visited the Rodin museum, and I didn't really pay attention til the second time.

That was when I noticed how Rodin only sculpted women being sexual or looked at, and she sculpted women as people.

What a life it must have been for her!