Wednesday, May 23, 2007

'The Thinker' Visits Frederik Meijer Gardens

'The Thinker' Visits Frederik Meijer Gardens

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Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker on temporary loan from the Detroit Institute of Arts.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI.- Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, the most significant sculpture and botanic experience in the Midwest and an emerging cultural destination on the national scene, today announced the exhibition of Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker on temporary loan from the Detroit Institute of Arts from May 23, 2007 – October 31, 2007. Meijer Gardens currently has two pieces by Rodin in the permanent collection: Eve in the Sculpture Park and The Kiss in the Victorian Conservatory.

One of the most well-known and iconic works in the history of art, The Thinker, originally conceived as part of the sculptor’s famed Gates of Hell, was enlarged and re-imagined as an independent work of art. Created in 1880 and cast in bronze in 1904, The Thinker was given to the Detroit Institute of Art in 1922 by Horace H. Rackham, and has never been loaned to any other organization—until now.

The Thinker will arrive at Meijer Gardens on May 22, 2007 and will be placed in the Sculpture Park on May 23, 2007. The month of May marks the Sculpture Park ’s fifth anniversary, and having this monumental piece is a magnificent celebration of the organization’s achievement the art world. The Thinker will be placed across from the waterfall in The Sculpture Park – one of the most photographed scenes throughout the entire 125-acres.

Rodin himself wrote about his intention: “The Thinker has a story. In the days long gone by I conceived the idea of the Gates of Hell. Before the door, seated on the rock, Dante thinking of the plan of the poem behind him…all the characters from the Divine Comedy. This project was not realized. This ascetic Dante and his straight robe separated from all the rest would have been without meaning. Guided by my first inspiration I conceived another thinker, a naked man, seated on a rock, his fist against his teeth, he dreams. The fertile thought slowly elaborates itself within his brain. He is no longer a dreamer, he is a creator.”

“The Detroit Institute of Arts is very pleased to share significant works from its collection with other important cultural institutions,” said Graham W. J. Beal, DIA director. “Our loan of The Thinker to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park this summer will allow many more Michigan residents and tourists to see this iconic piece while we complete the final phase of the museum’s renovation.”

“I feel that we have been chosen as a site for this magnificent piece of sculpture because we share a mutual love and appreciation for the arts” said David Hooker, President & CEO of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park . “We are honored to have this piece on loan to us for The Sculpture Park’s 5th anniversary in May and hope that many will take this opportunity to see this world renowned work of art while it is in West Michigan .”
About Auguste Rodin: Born in Paris in 1840, Rodin attended school and began an interest in drawing at a young age. He attempted to enter Beaux-Arts (art academy) three times, but failed and decided to work briefly as a decorative sculptor. Rodin began to work with sculptor Henri Carrier-Belleuse in 1864, with whom he developed a life long relationship.

At the height of his career, Rodin was regarded as the greatest sculptor since Michelangelo. His vigorous modeling technique was subjective and impressionistic; he captured movement and depth of emotion by altering traditional poses and gestures to create new forms of intense vitality.

Rodin’s first public exhibit of his work, Le Vainca, took place in 1877. In 1880 the monumental Gates of Hell was commissioned whose iconography is loosely based around Dante’s Divine Comedy, and of which The Thinker was initially included. The Thinker became an independent work of sculpture one year later.

In 1917, at the sculptor’s request, his personal cast of The Thinker was positioned at his tomb in Meudon.

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