Description: Balzac

Rodin’s bronze figure of the writer Honoré de Balzac, one of a number of early concepts for a monumental sculpture, shows a heavy-set middle-aged man with a round belly, his legs spread wide.  His left arm is tucked behind him and his right arm is held out as if Balzac is gesturing as he speaks.  This is not a typical pose for a monument; more often, the subjects are idealized and shown in heroic, athletic poses.  Sitters who did not measure up to these classical standards—especially authors, who were famous more for their intellectual gifts than their physiques—were generally depicted as busts rather than entire figures.  Balzac, however, was known for his literary depictions of the common man and his insights into human nature, and Rodin portrays him accordingly: earthy, aging, and real. 

  • Artist: Auguste Rodin
  • Creation date: 1891-1892
  • Credit line: R. T. Miller Fund, 55.14