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Rodin’s Gates of Hell, Cantor Art Center, Stanford University

Rodin's The Thinker, The Gates of Hell, from Dante

Rodin’s The Gates of Hell, Cantor Art Center, Stanford University, July 1, 2011.

III
The Thinker

Staring into the portal I see humankind
stretched out on the rack of this century,
gassed in the trenches of Europe,
vivisected in the meat shops of Germany,
forced to kowtow in China and India,
in Africa and the archipelagoes,
by the British, the French, the Japanese,
by all those intent on empire,
intent on the worship of themselves.

Staring into the portal I see ourselves
revealed in the terror of what we are,
of what we cannot face, cannot bear,
try always to ignore,
while the cost grows greater and greater,
while like Ugolino we grope over the dead,
the victims of our rapacity,
our devouring lust.
“O Master, the sense is hard.”

Copyright (c) 1999 Frederick Glaysher. My Rodin sequence has a I & II…
https://fglaysher.com/into_the_ruins.html 

Rodin, Gates of Hell, Paolo, Francesca
Rodin, Gates of Hell, Paolo and Francesca

Rodin’s Paolo and Francesca… “our devouring lust.” They’re writhing in Hell. Dante saw them there on his visit… wrought them in immortal song, Rodin in immortal bronze. White’s translation:

“There is no greater grief
Than to recall a bygone happiness
In present misery….

While the first spirit told her tale, the other
Wept with a passionate grief that mastered me;
I felt a faintness, as it were of death,
And like a corpse fell headlong to the ground.”

Apparently, Dante must have had cause to faint…

Rodin, Gates of Hell, Ugolino, devouring his children…

“…while like Ugolino we grope over the dead,
the victims of our rapacity,
our devouring lust.
‘O Master, the sense is hard.'”

Copyright (c) 1999 Frederick Glaysher
https://fglaysher.com/into_the_ruins.html

Rodin, Gates of Hell, Cantor Arts Center

Bronze, of course… The Thinker pondering Hell below… perhaps the greatest art work of the 20th Century. Guernica next comes to mind…

Rodin, Gates of Hell, Cantor Art Center
Rodin, The Gates of Hell, Cantor Art Center

One of only two or three full exhibitions, worldwide, of Rodin’s The Gates of Hell.  ‎…awe-inspiring for me. I first saw it in a special exhibition in Detroit in the early 1980s. I wrote a series of poems about it, in my book Into the Ruins, if interested, “Rodin’s Gates of Hell”: https://fglaysher.com/into_the_ruins.html

Rodin, The Thinker, MET
Rodin, The Thinker, MET

…A creative mounting of Rodin’s The Thinker, five or six feet off the floor, from The Gates of Hell. New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, February 11, 2012.

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