Rodin: The Gates of Hell (DVD)

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Rodin: The Gates of Hell (DVD)

About the Work:

From the moment the work was commissioned in 1880 until his death thirty-seven years later, The Gates of Hell dominated much of Auguste Rodin's life, thought, and labor. Inspired by Dante's Inferno and permeated by the sense of anguish expressed in the numerous writhing, nude figures, The Gates conveys Rodin's own deeply felt sense of the tragic fate of humanity. Over the years, the artist constantly reworked the doors, adding, subtracting, and altering figures and their relationships. Many of his most memorable individual sculptures, including The Thinker, began as figures for The Gates. The planned museum in Paris for which the doors had been commissioned remained unbuilt, however, and Rodin's great project existed only in plaster when he died. It was the Philadelphia theater entrepreneur Jules Mastbaum who commissioned the first two bronze casts of the doors, one for his native city and the other for the Musée Rodin in Paris. Today the Philadelphia cast still stands at the entrance to the Rodin Museum that Mastbaum gave to the City of Philadelphia.

- Christopher Riopelle, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 210.

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Auguste Rodin's masterpiece The Gates of Hell is an epic achievement: a massive portal to Hades inspired by Dante's Inferno, its towering doors covered with nearly 200 individual figures. Commissioned in 1880, the project was to be the main entrance to the museum of decorative arts in Paris, a museum that was never built. A century later, legendary New York businessman and philanthropist B. Gerald Cantor and his wife, Iris, convened a team of experts to attempt the first-ever bronze casting of The Gates of Hell using the painstaking "lost wax" method that Rodin himself had favored. The finished piece would stand 21 feet high and 12 feet wide, and weigh eight tons. This award-winning film chronicles Rodin's struggles and sacrifices in creating a monumental work of art, and the extraordinary modern-day effort to give it the final form he envisioned.

  • By Kultur Films
  • All Regions
  • NTSC Format
  • 53 Minute Run Time
  • Color
  • 4:3 Full Screen
  • Dolby 2.0 Sound
  • Made in the USA
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