The Thinker returns to the Cantor Arts Center
at Stanford University after two years on loan to the North Carolina Museum of Art. Starting Jan. 25, the public can again view this iconic work by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin (18401917). During his lifetime, Rodin was compared to Michelangelo and was widely recognized as the greatest artist of the era. His most famous works, The Kiss and The Thinker, are often used outside the world of fine art as symbols of human emotion and character.
First created in a smaller size for The Gates of Hell, this figure was one of the first that Rodin conceived for his greatest masterpiece, as seen at the top of The Gates of Hell in the B. Gerald Cantor Rodin Sculpture at the Cantor Arts Center. Rodin thought of the poet Dante as he began the sculpture, but the work evolved beyond the initial reference to represent the muscular intellectual, as demonstrated by alternate titles The Poet and The Poet-Thinker subsequently used by Rodin.
Stanfords Thinker is monumental Rodins largest version of this work. It weighs approximately one ton and is 79 inches high. The Thinker at Stanford is the 10th in an edition of 12 authorized by the Musée Rodin, in Paris, which inherited from Rodin the right to cast editions of the sculptor's work.
The Cantor Arts Centers impressive Rodin collection includes about 200 sculptures, with all on view to the public free of charge. Works in cast bronze and also in wax, plaster, and terra cotta are presented in three galleries at the Cantor Arts Center. Twenty bronzes, including The Gates of Hell, are in the Rodin Sculpture Garden at the Center. The Burghers of Calais is displayed in Memorial Court.
The Thinker came to Stanford in 1988 and is a promised gift to the Cantor Arts Center from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation. It was on view in front of the Stanford library for many years. In 2006 it was placed in the Cantor Arts Center, where it can again be seen in the Susan and John Diekman Gallery for the art of Rodin.