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Elementary: The Thinker by Auguste Rodin (Art Card)

Auguste Rodin (French, 1840 to 1917), The Thinker, modeled 1880; reduced in 1903; this example cast at a later date, bronze

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About the Artist

Auguste Rodin was the most famous sculptor in Europe during the late 1800s. He broke from tradition by making sculptures that looked rougher and less finished than the style popular at the time. He was interested in showing the physical and emotional power of the body.


About the Art

The Thinker might be considered one of the most famous sculptures ever made. The Thinker was originally called The Poet and was conceived as part of a commission for a pair of bronze doors at a decorative arts museum in Paris.


Look Closely

  • This sculpture is called The Thinker. Describe how you know this man is thinking based on what you see. 
  • Put your body in the position of this figure. How does it feel to sit like this?
  • What do you look like when you’re thinking?



Rodin said that he created The Thinker as “a naked man, seated upon a rock, his feet drawn up under him, his fist against his teeth, he dreams. The fertile thought slowly elaborates itself within his brain. He is no longer dreamer, he is creator.”

  • What do you think this figure might be thinking and dreaming about?
  • Why did Rodin think it might be important to capture a man thinking?



  • How does this sculpture relate to the concept of identity?
  • What are some things you think deeply about? How might what you think about reflect who you are?


Learn More

Visit the “Learn More” sidebar to find more information about the work of art and artist and find other works of art that relate to the subject matter, media, and techniques used by the artist.