Rodin Vibrant at the Clark Museum


Rodin's sculptures were so anatomically perfect he was accused of having cast them from life. I've always found this strange: did they mean hot bronze was poured over live models? Or at the very least, plaster? I'm sure that the reason they gave was not the real reason, and that the sheer erotic force, intellectual power and revisioning of known narratives in Rodin's work made them uncomfortable. Anyhow, it seems the case that any actual innovator will be attacked. I am pleased that no one has attacked Diane Seuss for her extreme innovation in Frank: Sonnets; in fact, the Pulitzer committee made an inspired choice. Nevertheless, we live in a time of neo-puritanism, left and right. Fascism is in the air. It is not safe for drag queens to read or perform for children and it is not safe for a writer to create characters from a culture other than his own.


I find Jonathan Swift's quote even more accurate:


"When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him."


Note: Comparing Rodin to the French traditional neoclassical sculpture he supplanted. The neoclassicists were superb technicians to be sure, but their mythological references seemed to be glimmering at us from another world. With Rodin, they could be living down the street.

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