A casting of Auguste Rodin’s “The Thinker” sculpture, one of the most iconic works of art in the world, sold for 10.7 million euros ($11.14 million) at a Paris auction on Thursday.
The auction house, Christie’s, had estimated the casting, one of roughly 40 authentic outstanding ones, would fetch between 9 and 14 million euros. The record for a Rodin “Thinker” was set at a Sotheby’s auction in New York in 2013, when one sold for $15.3 million.
When conceived by Rodin in 1880 in its original size of approximately 70 centimeters (28 inches) “The Thinker” was called “The Poet” and was designed to be the crowning element of “The Gates of Hell”, another major work by the French sculptor.
The sculpture initially represented Dante, the medieval Italian poet and author of the “Divine Comedy”, leaning forward to observe the circles of Hell, while meditating on his work.
While remaining in place on the monumental “Gates of Hell”, “The Thinker” was exhibited individually in 1888 and thus became an independent work.
The statue was first enlarged in 1904, and monumental man-sized versions of the statue such as the one on display in the Paris Rodin Museum proved even more popular, with its the image of a man lost in thought but whose powerful body suggests a great capacity for action.
The copy sold this Thursday by Christie’s was the size of the original model.
Top image caption: A cast of “The Thinker” by French sculptor Auguste Rodin is seen on display before its auction at Christie’s auction house in Paris, France, June 27, 2022.