Rodin − Rilke − Hofmannsthal. El hombre y su genio

Exposición: Rodin − Rilke − Hofmannsthal. El hombre y su genio

Fecha: 17 de Noviembre de 2017 − 18 de Marzo de 2018

Museo: Museo Rodin

La mano de Dios, 1896. Mármol, 94 x 82.5 x 54.9 cm. Museo Rodin , París.

“Los escritores trabajan con palabras, los escultores con acciones”
Pomponius Gauricus, De Sculptura (circa 1504)

El héroe es aquel que permanece inalterablemente centrado
–Emerson

Rodin era un solitario antes de ser famoso. Y la fama, cuando le llegó, lo convirtió en alguien aún más solitario, pues, finalmente, la fama no es más que la sumatoria de todos los malentendidos que se congregan alrededor de un nombre nuevo. Existen muchos de estos alrededor de Rodin, y aclararlos sería una labor larga, ardua e innecesaria. Rodean el nombre, aunque no a la obra, que sobrepasa de lejos la resonancia del nombre, y que se ha convertido en algo sin nombre, como no tiene nombre una gran llanura, o el mar, que probablemente reciba un nombre en un mapa, en los libros y entre la gente, pero que en realidad es sólo inmensidad, movimiento y profundidad.

Las tres sombras, antes de 1886. Bronce, 96.6 x 92 x 54.1 cm.
Museo Rodin , París.

La obra de la que hablamos aquí ha estado creciendo durante años. Crece cada día como un bosque, sin perder nunca una hora. Al pasar por entre sus incontables manifestaciones, quedamos sometidos por la riqueza de descubrimientos e invención, y no podemos evitar maravillarnos ante el par de manos del que ha nacido este mundo. Recordamos lo pequeñas que son las manos de los hombres, de lo pronto que se cansan y del poco tiempo que se les da para crear. Anhelamos ver estas manos, que han vivido la existencia de cientos de manos, de una nación de manos que se han levantado antes del amanecer para enfrentar el largo camino de su obra. Nos preguntamos a quién pertenecen estas manos. oeQuién es este hombre?

Jules Bastien-Lepage, 1887. Yeso, 176 x 87.5 x 88 cm. Museo Rodin , París.

Es un hombre viejo. Y su vida es una de aquellas que se resisten a convertirse en una historia. Esta vida comenzó y ahora continúa, pasando a una venerable edad; casi nos parece como si esta vida ha sucedido cientos de años atrás. No sabemos nada de ella. Debió de haber existido algún tipo de infancia, una infancia en la pobreza; oscura, aguda, incierta. Y quizás esta infancia aún pertenezca a esta vida. Después de todo, como afirmó alguna vez San Agustín, oedónde pudo haber ido? Quizás aún posea todas sus horas pasadas, las horas de anticipación y desolación, las horas de desesperación y las largas horas de necesidad.

Busto del escultor Jules Dalou, 1882. Bronce, 52.2 x 42.9 x 26.7 cm. Museo Rodin , París.

Esta es una vida que no ha perdido nada, una vida que acumula incluso mientras pasa. Tal vez. En verdad no sabemos nada de esta vida. Sentimos, sin embargo, la certeza que debe ser así, pues sólo una vida como esta pudo generar tanta riqueza y abundancia. Sólo una vida en la que todo está presente y vivo, en la que nada se ha perdido en el pasado, puede permanecer joven y fuerte y elevarse una y otra vez para crear grandes obras. Llegará el día cuando esta vida tenga una historia, una narración con temas, episodios y detalles.

Busto del escultor Jules Dalou, 1882. Bronce, 52.2 x 42.9 x 26.7 cm.
Museo Rodin , París.

Serán todos inventados. Alguien hablará de un niño que se olvidaba a menudo de comer porque parecía más importante tallar cosas en madera con un cuchillo deslustrado. Hallarán algún encuentro durante los primeros días de este muchacho que pareciera prometer una grandeza futura, una de aquellas profecías retrospectivas que resultan tan comunes y conmovedoras. Podría ser quizás las palabras que un monje le dijo a Michel Colombe hace casi quinientos años :

“Trabaja, pequeño, observa todo lo que puedas, el campanario de St-Pol, y las hermosas obras de los compañeros, observa, ama a Dios, y serás merecedor de grandes cosas”.

Bendiciones, antes de 1894. Mármol, 91 x 66 x 47 cm. Fundación Calouste
Gulbenkian, Lisboa.

Y se te dará la gracia de grandes cosas. Quizás la intuición le habló al hombre joven en alguna de sus encrucijadas durante sus primeros días, y en tonos infinitamente mucho más melodiosos que aquellos salidos de la boca de un monje. Pues era justamente esto lo que perseguía: la gracia de grandes cosas. Estaba el Louvre con sus muchos objetos luminosos de la Antigüedad, evocando cielos sureños y la proximidad del mar. Y más allá de éste se levantaban pesadas cosas de piedra, vestigios de culturas inconcebibles, perdurando hasta épocas aún por venir. Esta piedra estaba dormida, y uno tenía la sensación de que se iría a despertar; es una especie de Juicio Final. Había piedra que no parecía para nada mortal, y otra que parecía estar en movimiento, gestos que permanecían completamente frescos, como si se preservaran aquí sólo para entregárselos a un niño de paso.

Mme Morla Vicuna, 1884-1888. Mármol, 56 x 49.9 x 37 cm.
Museo Rodin , París.

Las obras invisibles, diminutas, sin nombre y en apariencia superfluas, no estaban menos colmadas de esta fuerza interna, con esta rica y asombrosa inquietud de vida. Incluso la inmovilidad, donde la hubiera, consistía en cientos de motivos móviles sostenidos en equilibrio. Había pequeñas figuras, especialmente animales, moviéndose, estirándose o acurrucándose, e incluso cuando un pájaro permanecía quieto, uno sabía muy bien que se trataba de un pájaro, pues mientras el cielo se extendía y lo rodeaba, la envergadura era aparente entre los pliegues más pequeños de sus alas, que podrían desplegarse hasta un tamaño asombroso.

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Rodin – Rilke – Hofmannsthal. Man and His Genius

Exhibition: Rodin – Rilke – Hofmannsthal.  Man and His Genius

Date: Nov 17, 2017 − Mar 18, 2018

Venue: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Balzac, Nude Study C, 1892-1893. Bronze, 127 x 56 x 62.2 cm.
Musée Rodin, Paris.

“Writers work with words, sculptors with actions.“
— POMPONIUS GAURICUS: DE SCULPTURA (circa 1504)

“The hero is he who is immovably centered.”
— RALPH WALDO EMERSON

Rodin was solitary before he was famous. And fame, when it arrived, made him perhaps even more solitary. For in the end, fame is no more than the sum of all the misunderstandings that gather around a new name. There are many of these around Rodin, and clarifying them would be a long, arduous, and ultimately unnecessary task. They surround the name, but not the work, which far exceeds the resonance of the name, and which has become nameless, as a great plain is nameless, or a sea, which may bear a name in maps, in books, and among people, but which is in reality just vastness, movement, and depth.

The Gates of Hell (detail), 1880-1917. Bronze. Musée Rodin , Paris.

The work of which we speak here has been growing for years. It grows every day like a forest, never losing an hour. Passing among its countless mani festations, we are overcome by the richness of discovery and invention, and we can’t help but marvel at the pair of hands from which this world has grown. We remember how small human hands are, how quickly they tire and how little time is given to them to create. We long to see these hands, which have lived the lives of hundreds of hands, of a nation of hands that rose before dawn to brave the long path of this work. We wonder whose hands these are. Who is this man?

The Burghers of Calais, 1889. Plaster, 217 x 255 x 177 cm. Musée Rodin , Paris.

His life is one of those that resists being made into a story. This life began and proceeded, passing deep into a venerable age; it almost seems to us as if this life had passed hundreds of years ago. We know nothing of it. There must have been some kind of childhood, a childhood in poverty; dark, searching, uncertain. And perhaps this childhood still belongs to this life. After all, as Saint Augustine once said, “where can it have gone? It may yet have all its past hours, the hours of anticipation and of desolation, the hours of despair and the long hours of need.”

This is a life that has lost nothing, that has forgotten nothing, a life that amasses even as it passes. Perhaps. In truth we know nothing of this life. We feel certain, however, that it must be so, for only a life like this could produce such richness and abundance.

Burgher of Calais: Andrieus d’Andres, figure from the second model, 1885.
Bronze, 61.5 x 22 x 46 cm. Musée Rodin , Paris.

Only a life in which everything is present and alive, in which nothing is lost to the past, can remain young and strong, and rise again and again to create great works. The time may come when this life will have a story, a narrative with burdens, epi sodes, and details. They will all be invented. Someone will tell of a child who often forgot to eat because it seemed more important to carve things in wood with a dull knife. They will find some encounter in the boy’s early days that seemed to promise future greatness, one of those retrospective prophecies that are so common and touching. It may well be the words a monk is said to have spoken to the young Michel Colombe almost five hundred years ago:

“Work, little one, look all you can, the steeple of Saint Pol, and the beautiful works ofthe Compagnons, look, love God and you will be grace of grand things.”

Head of Pierre de Wissant, c. 1885-1886 (?). Terracotta, 28.6 x 20 x 22 cm.
Musée Rodin, Paris.

And the grace of great things shall be given to you. Perhaps intuition spoke to the young man at one of the crossroads in his early days, and in infinitely more melodious tones than would have come from the mouth of a monk. For it was just this that he was after: the grace of great things. There was the Louvre with its many luminous objects of antiquity, evoking southerly skies and the near ness of the sea. And behind it rose heavy things of stone, traces of inconceiv able cultures enduring into epochs still to come. This stone was asleep, and one had the sense that it would awake at a kind of Last Judgment.

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Rubens: The Spiritual Father of Botero

Exhibition: Rubens. The Power of Transformation

Date: Feb 8 − May 28, 2018

Venue: Stadel Museum

Bacchus, 1638-1640. Oil on canvas, 191 x 161.3 cm. The State Hermitage Museum , St Petersburg.

The Life and Works of Peter Paul Rubens

The name of the great 17th century Flemish painter, Peter Paul Rubens is known throughout the world. The importance of his contribution to the development of European culture is generally recognised. The perception of life that he revealed in his pictures is so vivid, and fundamental human values are affirmed in them with such force, that we look upon Rubens’ paintings as a living aesthetic reality of our own time as well.

Saint George Battles the Dragon, c. 1607. Oil on canvas, 309 x 257 cm. Museo Nacional del Prado , Madrid.

The museums of Russia have a superb collection of the great Flemish painter’s works. These are concentrated, for the most part, in The State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, which possesses one of the finest Rubens’ collections in the world. Three works, previously part of the Hermitage collection, now belong to The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. The Bacchanalia and The Apotheosis of the Infanta Isabella were bought for the Hermitage in 1779 together with the Walpole Collection (from Houghton Hall in England); The Last Supper came to the Hermitage in 1768 from the Cobenzl Collection (Brussels). These three paintings were then transferred to Moscow in 1924 and 1930.

Rubens and Isabella Brant in the Honeysuckle Bower, c. 1609. Oil on canvas, 178 x 136.5 cm. Alte Pinakothek , Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen , Munich.

One gains the impression that in the 17th century Rubens did not attract as much attention as later. This may appear strange: indeed his contemporaries praised him as the “Apelles of our day”. However, in the immediate years after the artist’s death, in 1640, the reputation which he had gained throughout Europe was overshadowed. The reasons for this can be found in the changing historical situation in Europe during the second half of the 17th century.

In the first decades of that century nations and absolutist states were rapidly forming. Rubens’ new approach to art could not fail to serve as a mirror for the most diverse social strata in many European countries who were keen to assert their national identity, and who had followed the same path of development. This aim was inspired by Rubens’ idea that the sensually perceived material world had value in itself; Rubens’ lofty conception of man and his place in the Universe, and his emphasis on the sublime tension between man’s physical and imaginative powers (born in conditions of the most bitter social conflicts), became a kind of banner of this struggle, and provided an ideal worth fighting for.

Samson and Delilah, c. 1609-1610. Oil on panel, 185 x 205 cm.
The National Gallery London

In the second half of the 17th century, the political situation in Europe was different. In Germany after the end of the Thirty Years’ War, in France following the Frondes, and in England as the result of the Restoration, the absolutist regime triumphed. There was an increasing disparity in society between conservative and progressive forces; and this led to a “reassessment of values” among the privileged, who were reactionary by inclination, and to the emergence of an ambiguous and contradictory attitude towards Rubens.

This attitude became as internationally prevalent as his high reputation during his lifetime, and this is why we lose trace of many of the artist’s works in the second half of the 17th century after they left the hands of their original owners (and why there is only rare mention of his paintings in descriptions of the collections of this period). Only in the 18th century did Rubens’ works again attract attention…

The Four Philosophers, 1611-1612. Oil on canvas, 164 x 139 cm.
Galleria Palatina e Appartamenti Reali (Palazzo Pitti) , Polo Museale,
Florence.
Juno and Argus, c. 1610. Oil on canvas, 249 x 296 cm. Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud , Cologne.

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