24 January 2022

the tiny hand of God

This lovely small thing has just been auctioned off in New York. It belonged to the descendants a family whose forbearers had commissioned Auguste Rodin to make this marble sculpture to mark the gravesite of their young child. 

When one needs money, you can blame the family for selling it? But there was a small kerfuffle of cultural diplomacy shuffling about beforehand to see if it could remain in Pennsylvania where I believe it had been for 150 years. (And, nobody shuffles quite like museum directors when it comes to works of art from family estates) Alas, it was sold to a private collector (who can blame him or her?) And, what a work to admire with friends over a bottle of cognac!

An exquisite work, unpretentious and without any flash of flair which Rodin sometimes indulged in (and why not?) for he was one of the greatest of the all the greats! One can see him taking great care to sculpt such a small, modest commission. Carved deftly out of white marble but posed in such way that its light seems to still radiate outwards as if polishing the space surrounding it.

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