Door: The Gates Of Hell
I’m going much further afield for this challenge, Philadelphia’s Rodin Museum to be exact. The museum itself is an elegant, understated building that often gets overlooked by time-pressed tourists on their way to the spectacular Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Gates of Hell was a bronze door commissioned in 1880 by the Directorate of Fine Arts and was intended to be the entry door for a planned decorative arts museum in Paris. Rodin would continue to work on and off on this project for 37 years, until his death in 1917. The museum was never built but the door, inspired by Dante’s Inferno, was cast; a massive work that incorporated many of Rodin’s best known works.The Rodin Museum in Philadelphia owns the first bronze cast of The Gates, commissioned in 1925 by the Museum’s founder, Jules Mastbaum. At the time, Mastbaum ordered two sets of the doors—one for Philadelphia and one for the Musée Rodin in Paris. The Philadelphia panel is installed by an entrance foyer and it is magnificent:
We all know the iconic “The Thinker”. I was not a fan as a child then I experienced my first Rodin, The Burghers of Calais, at the Chicago Institute of Art. I was deeply moved and am now a fan of this master of the depths of the human condition.