Rodin Sculpture installed at the new Prior Performing Arts Center at Holy Cross

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Friday, May 24, 2024

Rodin Sculpture installed at the new Prior Performing Arts Center at Holy Cross
"Le génie du repos éternel" by Auguste Rodin. Photo courtesy of College of the Holy Cross.

WORCESTER, MASS.- The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery at the College of the Holy Cross has received a gift of the bronze sculpture “Le génie du repos éternel” (“Spirit of Eternal Repose”) by Auguste Rodin (1840 - 1917) to the Cantor Art Gallery’s permanent collection in celebration of the Gallery’s move to the new Prior Performing Arts Center. The sculpture is a gift from philanthropist and benefactor to the College Iris Cantor.

Considered to be the foremost innovator of modern sculpture, Auguste Rodin broke with traditional conventions to create works that embody the vitality of the human spirit. The late B. Gerald and Iris Cantor, along with the Cantor Foundation, have a long history of supporting the arts at numerous institutions such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Brooklyn Art Museum, Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, as well as at Holy Cross with the founding of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery on campus in 1983. Along with that initial gift, the Cantor Foundation donated 11 Rodin sculptures to help establish a permanent collection at the College.

Sculpted around 1898, “Spirit of Eternal Repose'' was originally created as part of a funeral monument for the artist Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. The group included a bust of the painter, as well as the allegorical figure of “eternal rest” picking apples from a tree while resting his arm on a table. Now isolated as a single figure, the sculpture depicts the spirit with his legs crossed, while his arm lifts over his head in a gesture like that of a dancer in motion. The architectural firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, designers of the Prior Performing Arts Center, has sited the sculpture at the center's northwest corner, where the figure’s raised arm mirrors the arch of the building.

Meredith Fluke, former director of the Cantor Art Gallery, expressed her gratitude: “On behalf of the College and the campus community, I would like to thank Iris Cantor, the Cantor Foundation, and Cantor Collection curator Judith Sobol for their long-standing support of the Cantor Art Gallery. The momentous gift of ‘The Spirit,’ which joins other Rodin works at the College, is a fitting celebration of the legacy relationship that has facilitated the Gallery’s new program in the Prior Performing Arts Center. I am additionally delighted that the sculpture’s beauty and stunning installation are enhanced by the building’s world-class design, and, together with the Prior Performing Arts Center, signal the centrality of the arts at Holy Cross.”

The Prior Performing Arts Center comprises performance, studio, rehearsal, classroom, and creative spaces. It is a hub for academic and artistic innovation, inviting creative thinkers to come together in collaboration and discovery.

The College of the Holy Cross, in Worcester, Mass., is among the nation's leading liberal arts institutions. A highly selective, four-year, exclusively undergraduate college of 3,100 students, Holy Cross is renowned for offering a rigorous, personalized education in the Jesuit, Catholic tradition. Since its founding in 1843, Holy Cross has made a positive impact in society by graduating students who distinguish themselves as thoughtful leaders in business, professional and civic life.

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