“The Thinker” by Auguste Rodin Returns to Stanford University
Public Viewing Begins Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012
Stanford, California --- “The Thinker” returns to the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University after two years on loan to the North Carolina Museum of Art. Starting Jan. 25, the public can again view this iconic work by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840–1917). During his lifetime, Rodin was compared to Michelangelo and was widely recognized as the greatest artist of the era. His most famous works, “The Kiss” and “The Thinker,” are often used outside the world of fine art as symbols of human emotion and character.
First created in a smaller size for “The Gates of Hell,” this figure was one of the first that Rodin conceived for his greatest masterpiece, as seen at the top of “The Gates of Hell” in the B. Gerald Cantor Rodin Sculpture at the Cantor Arts Center. Rodin thought of the poet Dante as he began the sculpture, but the work evolved beyond the initial reference to represent the “muscular intellectual,” as demonstrated by alternate titles “The Poet” and “The Poet-Thinker” subsequently used by Rodin.
Stanford’s “Thinker” is monumental — Rodin’s largest version of this work. It weighs approximately one ton and is 79 inches high. “The Thinker” at Stanford is the 10th in an edition of 12 authorized by the Musée Rodin, in Paris, which inherited from Rodin the right to cast editions of the sculptor's work.
The Cantor Arts Center’s impressive Rodin collection includes about 200 sculptures, with all on view to the public free of charge. Works in cast bronze and also in wax, plaster, and terra cotta are presented in three galleries at the Cantor Arts Center. Twenty bronzes, including “The Gates of Hell,” are in the Rodin Sculpture Garden at the Center. “The Burghers of Calais” is displayed in Memorial Court.
“The Thinker” came to Stanford in 1988 and is a promised gift to the Cantor Arts Center from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation. It was on view in front of the Stanford library for many years. In 2006 it was placed in the Cantor Arts Center, where it can again be seen in the Susan and John Diekman Gallery for the art of Rodin.
The Cantor Arts Center is open to the public Wednesday–Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m., and Thursday until 8 p.m. Admission is free. The Rodin Sculpture Garden is open all hours, with nighttime lighting. Docents offer free tours of the Rodin collection Wednesdays at 2 p.m., Saturdays at 11:30 a.m., and Sundays at 1 p.m. The Center is located on the Stanford campus, off Palm Drive at Museum Way. Information: museum.stanford.edu, 650-723-4177.
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A list of The Thinkers’ locations: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Thinker_sculptures
Completed installation of "The Thinker" at the Cantor Arts Center. Photo: Linda Cicero/Stanford News Service
The Thinker, 1880–81
Bronze, green and black patina. Posthumous cast authorized by Musée Rodin, France, 1972