Key Ideas about this Work of Art
- Camille Claudel was a sculptor in Paris during the late 1800s. She received acclaim from the Paris Salon at a time when women in France were not allowed to attend art schools.
- The artist knew Auguste Rodin intimately. This sculpture of him shows her careful attention to detail.
- Claudel’s sculpting skills have been attributed to her romance with Rodin in a way that undermines her accomplishments as an artist.
Camille Claudel met Auguste Rodin in 1882, when she was 18 and he was 42. Rodin nurtured Claudel’s talent as a sculptor. He also fell in love with her. They began a romantic relationship that lasted for 10 years. Rodin once claimed that Claudel’s Bust of Rodin was his favorite portrait of himself. This sculpture received recognition at the Paris Salon at a time when women were still not allowed to enroll in art school.
Claudel shows a careful attention to detail in her sculpture of Rodin. People have judged her sculptures as expressions of her relationship with Rodin. This assumption ignores her artistic talent and the originality of her work. She created most of her sculptures in bronze. She was also skilled at creating marble sculptures. Claudel achieved success and recognition for her art, despite the obstacles she faced as a female artist. When her relationship with Rodin ended, she became increasingly paranoid that he was trying to ruin her career. She was eventually committed to a psychiatric hospital, where she lived for the rest of her life.
Resources for Teachers:
- Read articles about the life and work of Camille Claudel.
- Explore a lesson plan on expressive portraiture.
- Read about the lost-wax casting process that was used to make bronze sculptures.
Resources for Students: