Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece

What

Museums & Galleries

For

All ages

When

26/04/2018 - 29/07/2018

Where

British Museum

Great Russell Street, WC1B 3DG

Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece

26 April–29 July

Tickets: £17 adults, under 16s free

Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece

Thinker Elgin Marbles

In 1881, having studied the treasures of the Parthenon from literature and fragments, Rodin visited the British Museum for the first time. He was at the height of his powers, had just been commissioned to create the monumental Gates of Hell, and what he saw had a lasting and profound effect. He returned again and again and would freely concede how much these extraordinarily sculptures and reliefs from 400BC impacted his own work. "... the sculptures of Ancient Greece ... remain my masters." 

Rodin the Kiss Parthenon sculpture

Often in shows such as this, the curator's aim - to show that a particular collection or theme really did have a particular impact - can seem forced. Not so here. It is wondrously fluid and instinctive. Rodin did not create copies of the figures that inspired him but inspire him they manifestly, and gloriously, did. As soon as you walk in the tone is set: The Kiss is displayed next to the torso of two goddesses from the east pediment of the Parthenon (circa 438 BC). You do not need to read the notice below to see how Rodin's intertwined bodies, hewn from a single piece of stone, give expression in the same way.

parthenon horse parthenon british museum

Grouped by subject matter 'Rodin's Parthenon', 'Fragments' and then thematically 'Emotion', 'Motion', these extraordinary creations of stone made flesh seem to spark off each other. From The Thinker to a plaster cast of Rodin's tortured left hand, an ancient horse head to a grimacing Centaur, a stunningly lovely Icarus' sister, an exquisite Greek foot, this is a show about life in physical form.

Icarus Sister Rodin Greek foot British Museum

It is not big, one long single room with natural light at one end glancing off the bronze of the tortured agony of the Burghers of Calais, but it is breathtaking.

Rodin exhibition

And we think it is a great one for kids. Sculpture is the most accessible of art forms and there are a couple of instances where there are child-focussed notices, encouraging little visitors to touch and feel the process of making. You can  pick up a tote bag containing sketching materials so they can their own inspiration down on paper. And under 16s are free!

There are a number of family events coming up too:

Rodin: Move, Make and Marvel runs daily during half term, Monday 28 May–Friday 1 June. Drop in from 11am–4pm.

Little Feet: Messy Modelling 8 June, 10.30–11.15am, 12–12.45pm. Free but booking essential.

Little Feet: Exhibition Explorer 5 July, 10.30am–12pm, under 5s. Free, drop in.

Little Feet: Becoming Artists 16 July, 10.30–11.15am, 12–12.45pm. Free but booking essential.

Book your Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece tickets at britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions/rodin

Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece

26 April–29 July

Tickets: £17 adults, under 16s free

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