The Age of Bronze (L'Age d'airain), ca. 1876 Plaster, 71 1/2 x 25 1/2 x 21 1/4 in. (181.6 x 64.8 x 54 cm.)
Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, Dallas, Texas
This is one of only a few known life-size plaster casts of The Age of Bronze, Rodin's first true masterpiece. Rodin had originally entitled this work The Vanquished as a tribute to casualties in the recent Franco-Prussian war. His model was a soldier, and Rodin first showed him holding an upright spear in his left hand. By removing the spear, Rodin created an ambiguity of meaning that puzzled critics, some of whom also found the supple modeling of anatomy so life-like that they accused Rodin of making molds directly from the human body. To defend himself, Rodin produced photographs of his model in the same pose for comparison. He also changed the work's title, playing upon the sense of awakening created by the figure's upraised arms and closed eyes to suggest the dawning of ancient man's self-consciousness.