Casey Gariepy

Auguste Rodin is an artist who experimented with and mastered both 2D and 3D mediums in order to fully study and explore the human figure and in his search for perfection. His style can be clearly seen within all of his drawings, sketches, and his sculptures. From making additive and subtractive decisions to accepting the unexpected discoveries,  he used many methods to create his ideal figures.

“Moreover, in my view, particular gauches and line drawings of all periods deserve to be classed with the finest and most quintessentially sculptural works on paper ever made” Lampert. When I look at Rodin’s drawings, they look as if they were done by a sculptor. His drawings and sculptures both capture movement with energetic line and form. His sculptures often have rough indentations, which mirror his sketchy line quality. When I look at his sketches, most of them disregard details and focus more on the outer edges of the form. From the sketches, it looks as if he was much more interested in the way the figures reacted with each other and the space around them, than he was with the details within the body. Because he was so accurate with proportions and capturing the accuracy of movement, he was often questioned as to his methods. Many critics believed that such accuracy could only come from using casts on human figures. (Lampert 1896)

Rodin modeled and sketched constantly, allowing energy to influence his sculptures and drawings. We see his interest in movement also in his drawings and his sketchy line quality shows us how important studying that movement was to him. He especially enjoyed drawing dancers so he could try to capture their constant movement. When Rodin was leaning how to draw, Rodin’s teacher brought his students outside and had them draw nude models that were walking around outside. This was one large influence for Rodin on the importance of drawing the moving figure. (Elsen 156-163 1963)            

Although Rodin was very interested motion and emotion, he was also very interested in the importance of line. He would sketch the figure and then once he determined where the outer edge of the figure should be, he would outline it with a dark crisp line. He always saw drawing and sculpture as two things that went hand in hand. He would occasionally interchange sculptural terminology with drawing terminology by referring to silhouettes as lines and drawings as profiles. (Elsen 163-165 1963)

Nude with Drapery is an example of a drawing by Rodin that emphasizes the importance of both line and movement. He sketches the contour of the figure and does a flesh toned watercolor wash over the figure herself. It looks as if it was done during a blind contour session where he drew without looking at the paper. He concentrates on the importance of line with the figure, but draws the cloth with a sketchy line and captures the figure in motion to still talk about movement. (Elsen 155-156 1963)


Figure 1. Figure 2. Figure 3. Figure 4.
Figure 5. Figure 6. Figure 7.
Rodin, Fugit Amor