Gallery visit: Rodin & Dance – The Essence of Movement

Courtauld Gallery, London 9th January 2017


An exhibition of examples of the work of Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) from the last 10 years of his life  in which he focused much of his creative energy in sketching the life model (usually female)  in his studio. Sketching had been a regular practice as a preliminary to sculptural work but in this later period how to capture the human body became an end in itself.


What is remarkable, and a lesson to all artists, as his ability to capture movement, the theme of the exhibition, with a minimum of simple lines or strokes.He himself explained in 1911, ” To express a movement in all its character and truth, it is important that it be at once the result of the successive moments that have preceded the moment that one has fixed, and that it announces those that will follow.” (From the exhibition display) Rodin was able to develop this interest in the movement of the body through sketching and drawing dancers, especially in sketching some of the leading performers from the leading companies of his day. The following sketch in pencil, watercolour and gouache on wove paper from 1906 or after well demonstrates his formidable skill in its capturing  the figure in mid gesture and giving the work a sense of movement through his energetic treatment of the back ground, including the curved strokes that echo the dancer’s undulating rhythms which he described as “wave-like”.




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