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Faunesse á Genoux (Kneeling Faunesse)
Signed A. Rodin
Inscribed Â© by musée Rodin 1966, and George Rudier Fondeur. Paris
Bronze with a dark brown patina, with lighter brown and green highlights
Height: 21 3/16" (53.8 cm)
Conceived in 1884 and cast by the George Rudier Foundry in May 1966. The Comite Rodin estimates that 26 casts of Faunesse aux Genoux were made between 1897 and 1969 in total
Conceived in 1884, this example was cast by the George Rudier Foundry in May 1966. The Comite Rodin estimates that 26 casts of Faunesse aux Genoux were made between 1897 and 1969 in total.
The figure of the faunesse, or female faun, can be traced back to the mythology of ancient Greece, where the creatures were normally depicted as half woman and half goat. Here Rodin’s Faunesse appears almost entirely human, and it is only the somewhat otherworldly facial features that subtly allude to her mythical nature.
In ancient mythology, both fauns and faunesses were known for their love of music and wine as well as their lustful nature. Much like the sculptor’s other models depicting Faunesses, here the veiled eroticism of the model and its allusion to female sexuality would not have been lost on his contemporary audience.
Rodin conceived the present model for The Gates of Hell. Another similar model, Standing Faunesse was also conceived for Rodin’s great portal and displays a similar figure in an upright position. Like the Standing Faunesse, the Kneeling Faunesse was one of the figures added by Rodin to the tympanum of the Gates, in front of the bas-reliefs which form the background.
The sculptor had several examples made of bronze and marble, and produced a variant entitled La Toilette de Venus. This work, freed from the animalistic form, is more seductive but misses the eccentricity which gave the Faunesse on its knees such a charm.
A cast of this model was presented at the 1st Salon of May 1912 where Auguste Rodin was honorary president alongside Auguste Renoir. He was part of five works among which were the Bust of Dalou (Bronze), Bust of Man (Bronze), Age of Bronze (Drawing) and Olympia (Drawing).
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