Auguste Rodin.  The Thinker. 1879-1889.  Bronze, life-size.

        French artist Auguste Rodin was at least as important to sculpture as his contemporaries, the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painters, were to painting.  Rodin became the first sculptor since Bernini to return sculpture to the status of a major art form.  In the place of Christ in judgment, usually seen over doorways of medieval churches, Rodin projects the universal artist-poet as creator, judge, and witness, brooding over the human condition.

        Modeled in clay and cast in bronze, this famous work is fluid and tactile. The unfinished and ‘‘sketchy’’ quality of sections of the modeling are hallmarks of Impressionist style.