I enjoyed visiting this smaill museum. Originally built by a rich financier as the 'finest house in Paris,' it is now known as the Hotel Biron. I've done some research to find out more about this building and found out that this home was the residence of many artists such as Isadora Duncan, Cocteau, Matisse, Rilke and espeically Rodin.
While Rodin lived here, he was at the peak of his glory, and his reputation actually saved the mansion from being demolished. After the government purchased the mansion in 1911 public favor was to make it a Rodin Museum. In 1916 Rodin donated all his collections to the state and in 1919, two years after his death, the museum opened to the public.
After you've viewed some of Rodin's famous sculptures take a walk around the beautiful gardens where you will find the world famous "Thinker", "Gates of Hell", "Balzac", and "The Burghers of Calais".
This museum is covered under the Paris Museum Pass
The park at the back of the Biron hotel is one of my preferred green places in Paris.
I am not alone to feel so when I see Parisians installed for their midday pose on the comfortable seats located at the back of the ornamental pond.
The entry to the garden costs 2 € but there exists a yearly subscription for 15€. If you do not have enough time to visit the museum, just walk through the garden where you will see 25 sculptures of Rodin. These are often bronze sculptures whose models, sometimes in other materials, are inside. The sculptures of Rodin, carried out in a uniform black and glossy bronze, are nicer when they take a little patina outside.
I particularly liked, under the trees, the individual statues of the “Burghers of Calais” like this Jacques de Wissant (photo 2).
The most remarkable sculpture is however that of “Ugolin” in the middle of the pond. It is a dramatic history (from Dante's “Divine comedy”) that of the count Ugolin, walled up with his sons in the prison which will become their tomb, and who starving ends up eating his dead children (photo 1).
Garden open: Each day, closed on Monday.
1/04 - 30/09 from 10.00 till 18.00 h
1/10 - 31/03 from 10.00 till 17.00 h
Entry price garden: 2€
Le parc à l'arrière de l'hôtel Biron est un des endroits verts de Paris que je préfère.
Je ne suis pas seul je crois à l'aimer car des Parisiens s'installent pour leur pose de midi sur les sièges confortables situés à l'arrière de la pièce d'eau. L'entrée au jardin coûte 1 € mais il existe un abonnement annuel à 15€. Si vous n'avez pas le temps de visiter le musée passer juste au jardin vous y verrez 25 sculptures de Rodin. Ce sont souvent des sculptures en bronze dont les modèles, parfois en d'autres matériaux, se trouvent à l'intérieur. Il faut remarquer que les sculptures de Rodin, réalisées en un bronze uniformément noir et brillant, sont mieux mis en valeur quand ils prennent un peu de patine à l'extérieur.
J'ai particulièrement aimé, sous les arbres, les statues individuelles des "Bourgeois de Calais" comme ce Jacques de Wissant (photo 2).
La plus remarquable sculpture est cependant celle de "Ugolin" au milieu du bassin aquatique. C'est une dramatique histoire (tirée de la "Divine Comédie") que celle du comte Ugolin, muré avec ses fils dans la prison qui doit devenir leur tombeau, et qui affamé finit par manger ses enfants morts (photo 1).
Whereas the drama of the life of Camille Claudel (see the French film of 1988 with Isabelle Adjani and Gerard Depardieu) finds its cause in the rupture between the Master Rodin and his pupil and mistress Camille Claudel in 1898 after a love affair which began in 1884, it is at the hotel Biron that one can see a selection of fifteen sculptures among the best of Camille Claudel.
Rodin, who planned this museum, wanted works of Camille to be exposed here.
Camille (who was the sister of the writer Paul Claudel) never recovered from the rupture with Rodin. Camille Claudel developed persecution delirium and was interned in 1913 by her family in an asylum until her death in 1943.
The two artists influenced themselves mutually as it arises from the “Young girl with a sheaf” of 1887 (photo 1). Very moving is the bronze group called “The age of maturity” which shows Camille on her knees imploring Rodin not to abandon her (photo 2).
I liked very much “the Wave” (1900) where she uses onyx and approaches a new style resulting from the "japonism" (photo 3). Quite beautiful is this marble sculpture "Vertumne and Pomone" (from the Metamorphoses of Ovide) made in 1905 (photo 4).
Alors que le drame de la vie de Camille Claudel (voir le film français de 1988 avec Isabelle Adjani et Gérard Depardieu) trouve sa cause dans la rupture entre les deux amants survenue en 1898 après une liaison qui débuta en 1884 entre le maître Rodin et son élève Camille Claudel, c'est à l'hôtel Biron que l'on peut voir une sélection de quinze sculptures parmi les meilleures de Camille Claudel. C'était la volonté de Rodin même que les œuvres de Camille soient exposées dans ce musée projeté par Rodin.
On sait que Camille (qui était la sœur de l'écrivain Paul Claudel) ne se remit jamais de cette rupture et qu'elle fut internée en 1913 par sa famille dans un asile jusqu'à sa mort en 1943.
Les deux artistes s'influencent mutuellement comme il ressort de la "Jeune Fille à la gerbe" de 1887 (photo 1)
Emouvant est le bronze appelé "Age mûr" qui montre Camille à genoux implorant Rodin de ne pas l'abandonner (photo 2). J'ai beaucoup aimé "la Vague" (1900) où elle utilise l'onyx et aborde un nouveau style issu du japonisme (photo 3). De toute beauté est le marbre "Vertumne et Pomone" (Métamorphoses d'Ovide) sculpté en 1905.
Although I entered the Musée Rodin at the Hôtel Biron around 17 h the premises were still full with visitors (750.000 per year). Rodin is nowadays a world wide renowned sculptor; maybe that the film about Camille Claudel contributed to this!
The two Rodin museums possess more than six thousand sculptures. The finished sculptures, the marble and the bronzes are presented in Paris, whereas plasters are in the other Rodin museum in Meudon.
The sculptures are distributed over the ground and first floor of this elegant "Hôtel de Maître" and in the large and beautiful garden bordered by the Boulevard des Invalides.
On the ground floor are some famous sculptures like "l'Age d'airain", "le Baiser", "Eve". On the first floor "Balzac en robe de moine" and one of my favoured works of Rodin which is a terra cotta "Jeune Fille au chapeau fleuri".
The nicest part is perhaps the garden with 25 sculptures among which the quite famous "Le Penseur", "Les Bourgeois de Calais", "La Porte de l'Enfer" and in the centre of the ornamental pond "Ugolin".
Throughout his career Rodin made replicas of the works which had most success, at the request of collectors and in the last years of his life copies for the future museum.
So don't be surprised to find the same sculptural theme in several places or materials.
The garden, decorated with rose trees, between the Varenne street and the Biron Hotel, comprises three of the most known works of the sculptor Rodin.
On the side of the boulevard des Invalides stands the famous “Thinker-Penseur” besieged by all the photographers. It is the most prized souvenir's photo.
About twenty mouldings of the sculpture were carried out, for the majority during the living of Rodin, and are distributed in the museums of the planet. Here one finds the original which has initially throned in front of the Pantheon. Note that the "Thinker" presses his right elbow on his left knee.
Near the Varenne street stands the group of the “The Burghers of Calais - Bourgeois de Calais”.
It should be noticed that the sculptures of Rodin, carried out in a uniform black and glossy bronze, are nicer when they take a little patina outside. Inside the museum the statues are often standing opposite windows, against daylight (annoying for taking photos).
On the left stands that fantastic work called the “The Gates of Hell - Porte de l'Enfer".
Inspired from Dante's Divine Comedy and Baudelaire, Rodin worked all his life on this sculptural group. Started in 1880 it will be molten out of bronze in 1926, nine years after his death. Many independent statues resulted from the “The Gates of Hell”.
Le jardin, agrémenté de rosiers, entre la rue de Varenne et l'Hôtel Biron, comporte trois des œuvres les plus connues du sculpteur Rodin.
Du coté du boulevard des Invalides trône le célèbre "Penseur" pris d'assaut par tous les photographes. C'est la photo souvenir par excellence. Il faut savoir qu'une vingtaine de moulages de la sculpture ont été réalisés, pour la plupart du vivant de Rodin, et sont répartis dans les musées de la planète. Ici on trouve l'original qui a d'abord trôné devant le Panthéon. Notez que le Penseur appuie son coude droit sur son genou gauche.
Côté rue de Varenne il y a le célèbre groupe des "Bourgeois de Calais". Il faut remarquer que les sculptures de Rodin, réalisées en un bronze uniformément noir et brillant, sont mieux mis en valeur quand ils prennent un peu de patine à l'extérieur. A l'intérieur du musée les statues se trouvent souvent en face de fenêtres, ce qui cause un contre jour désagréable (surtout pour le photographe amateur).
Sur la gauche se trouve enfin cette fantastique œuvre qu'est la "Porte de l'Enfer".
Inspiré de Dante et Baudelaire, Rodin travailla à cette œuvre toute sa vie. Commencée en 1880 elle sera fondue en bronze en 1926 soit neuf ans après sa mort. Nombreuses sont les figures indépendantes issues de la "Porte de l'Enfer".
The Musée Rodin is a museum that was opened in 1919, dedicated to the works of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin. It has two sites, at the Hôtel Biron and surrounding grounds in central Paris, and just outside Paris at Rodin's old home, the Villa des Brillants at Meudon (Hauts-de-Seine). The collection includes 6,600 sculptures, 8,000 drawings, 8,000 old photographs and 7,000 objets d’art. The museum receives 700,000 visitors annually.
The Musée Rodin contains most of Rodin's significant creations, including The Thinker, The Kiss and The Gates of Hell. Many of his sculptures are displayed in the museum's extensive garden. The museum is one of the most accessible museums in Paris.
It is located near a Metro stop, Varenne, in a central neighborhood and the entrance fee is very reasonable. The gardens around the museum building contain many of the famous sculptures in natural settings. Behind the museum building is a small lake and casual restaurant.
We spent about 2 hours here and saw everything ... there was literally no one there the day we went ...
Admission was 9 euro's for the gardens and main building ....
Free on the 1st Sunday of each month.
When I first saw the sculpture Ugolino and his children, by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), my impression was that Ugolino was trying desperately to protect his children, perhaps from wolves or bandits. But I didn’t know the story then.
There really was a man named Ugolino della Gherardesca who lived in the thirteenth century, from about 1220 to 1289. He was an Italian count who was very much involved in the feuds and conflicts of his era. On orders of his enemy, the Archbishop, Ugolino and his sons and grandsons were imprisoned in a tower and left there to starve to death, the keys having been thrown into the river.
This probably would have been forgotten as just another gruesome episode from Italian history, except that Dante Alighieri picked up on the story a quarter century later and used it in his Divine Comedy – in the Inferno part, of course. In Dante’s version, the dying children beg their father to eat their bodies after they have died, and he finally gets so desperate that he does so. For this crime of cannibalism (among other crimes) he is condemned to eternal torture in the ninth circle of hell – along with his enemy, the Archbishop.
In the garden of the Rodin Museum in Paris, a bronze casting of Ugolino and his children is on an island in the middle of a round pond, with other Rodin sculptures around the edges and the Dome of Les Invalides rising up in the background (second photo).
Auguste Rodin originally made this sculpture as part of The Gates of Hell (third photo), but then he also decided to have it cast as a free-standing sculpture.
For a very different depiction of Ugolino and his children, see the painting by Charles-Hippolyte-Émile Lecomte-Vernet (1821-1900) in Paintings in the Calvet Museum on my Avignon page.
Next Paris review from June 2012: The Thinker, by Rodin
Rodin ... without being a specialist in art (arts) or just because I do not know much about it, I can say that I do not like Rodin's sculptures.
Too big, too dark, too heavy...
I was trying to feel their fluidity, their sensibility... nothing. Rodin's bodies are twisted, stressed, I could almost feel the pain in the contortioned bones and muscles.
Probably "The Kiss" could impress me but I haven't seen it yet, as the biggest part of the museum is under renovation (only the price is unchanged).
The only think that I liked is that Rodin gave us, the future viewers, the possibility to complete his works with our minds.
Works of art are actually windows to ourselves and this is why each of us sees so different a sculpture, a painting.
His sculptures, finished/polished/refined by our minds would be really impressive, especially for Rodin.
However, after I visited the Rodin museum, I understood exactly why Brancusi did not want to work with Rodin, saying "nothing grows in the shade of a tall tree"... he was just trying to be polite
Last visit April 2014
The museum, devoted to the works of French artist Auguste Rodin, is located in the former Hotel Biron near Invalides. The state bought the Hotel in 1911 and Rodin agreed to donate his entire collection of sculptures and drawings along with his photographs and archives if they devoted a museum to him. They did just that although a couple of years after his death.
Although there's quite a bit to see inside, the warmer months are a better time to visit as many of the sculptures are outside in the garden, a nice place to have a picnic lunch amidst some of his most well known works such as The Thinker, The Burghers of Calais, The Gates of Hell and one of his many statues of Balzac. Come to think of it, you might not to gaze upon Balzac while eating, he's definitely someone that should have never been sculpted in the nude!
Invalides, where Napoleon is buried and also houses the Army Museum, is just a couple of minutes away on foot if you are looking to group sights together.
The sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), lived and worked in the Hôtel Biron in Paris for the last decade of his life. (The word Hôtel is used here in the old sense, meaning mansion.) In his will, he left the building and most of his sculptures to the French state, for use as a museum.
The main building was being renovated and reorganized when I was there in 2012, but half the building was open and there was an excellent (though temporary) exhibition of Rodin’s major works, along with several sculptures by his student, muse, colleague and lover Camille Claudel (1864–1943).
In 1883 Rodin made a bust (second photo) of the great French writer Victor Hugo (second photo), the author of Notre-Dame de Paris 1482, among many other works.
Much later, in 1909, Rodin made this bust (third photo) of the composer Gustav Mahler (1860-1911).
Among the many Rodin sculptures on display is this one (fourth photo) called La Prière (The Prayer), which is also from the year 1909.
At the museum bookshop I bought this book (fifth photo) about the life and work of Camille Claudel, who was a very talented sculptress in her own right and a tragic figure because her family committed her to an insane asylum for the last thirty years of her life.
In 1988 a notable French film was made about Camille Claudel. It was directed by Bruno Nuytten, co-produced by Isabelle Adjani, and it starred her and Gérard Depardieu. The film was based on a book by Reine-Marie Paris, who also co-authored the (more recent) book I bought at the museum. Reine-Marie Paris is the granddaughter of Camille's brother, the poet and diplomat Paul Claudel, so that would make her the great-niece of Camille Claudel.
I once saw an opera staging that was inspired by Camille Claudel’s fate. It was a staging in Hannover of Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848). In this staging, Lucia does not die at the end, but is secretly committed to an insane asylum by her family. An actress plays Lucia as an old woman. She is on the stage throughout the opera, re-living her memories of her traumatic experiences when she was younger.
Next review from June 2012: Ugolino and his children, by Rodin
In October 2013 the Rodin Museum presented an exhibition of twenty-two sculptures of Camille Claudel (1864-1943), including some that have not been on display for several years during the ongoing renovation of the museum.
The exposition’s introductory brochure says that Camille Claudel “has become an almost too familiar figure today: her stormy love affair with Rodin and her long, tragic internment in a mental asylum have often eclipsed her bold, experimental art and her distinguished career.”
Unfortunately photography was not allowed in the exhibition, but some of her works can be seen on the museum’s website -- and of course there is one on the exhibition posters and brochure, Les Causeuses (The Gossips), which she created in 1897 using onyx and bronze.
Île Saint Louis: Quai d’Anjou & Quai de Bourbon
More opera performances in Hannover
Next Paris review from October 2013: Musée Jacquemart-André
Looking at the Musée Rodin - which was Rodin's studio for the latter period of his life - the one stereotype that Auguste Rodin didn't live up to was that of 'impoverished artist'!
The museum is housed in Hôtel Biron - which served as Rodin's studio from 1908 - and is located on Rue de Varenne, in an area that would have been upmarket even at the time. It had previously served as a school and the grand proportions of both the building and the gardens which surround it reflect the titanic reputation that Rodin enjoyed as a celebrity sculptor in the latter part of his career.
On his death, Rodin bequeathed both the house and the majority of his work to the French State on condition that it was converted into a museum to his memory, and the museum remains remarkable in that it is the only French national museum that is entirely self-supporting and receives no form of state subsidy - a telling testament to Rodin's enduring popularity and touristic 'pulling power'. So although Paris can be an expensive city for tourists - especially if you're only there for a short period and want to fit in as much as possible - rather vent your ire on the admission prices at other tourist attractions rather than this fabulously interesting and attractive museum, which at least pays its own way!
Also, to maximise discounts, look at investing in the combined 'passporte' between Musee d'Orsay and Musee Rodin, since if you want to see one, you're almost guaranteed to want to visit both. And if you have the intention of visiting any other of Paris' many art galleries or museums, strongly consider investing in the Paris Museum Pass (see the website below), which at €35 for two days and €50 for four days at the time of writing (October 2011), could offer a considerable saving,depending on how much of a 'culture vulture' you are.