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A hysterical reading of rodin's gates of hell

Ruiz-Gõmez, N (2013) 'A hysterical reading of rodin's gates of hell.' Art History, 36 (5). 994 - 1017. ISSN 0141-6790

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Abstract

This paper offers a new reading of Auguste Rodin's most important sculpture, the Gates of Hell, by arguing that the artist engaged with the visual language of and the wider discourse on hysteria, which permeated not only the French popular and scientifi c press but also the culture at large in the last decades of the nineteenth century. Recently uncovered archival evidence reveals Rodin's strong ties to the family and intellectual circle of Doctor Jean-Martin Charcot of the Hôpital de la Salpêtrière, affording the sculptor exceptional exposure and access to the medical discourse on hysteria. Rodin assimilated and adapted the lexicon of hysterical postures for the fi gures that populate the Gates of Hell, using the 'great malady of the century' to suggest the modern human condition and thereby creating a new and potent sculptural idiom that we recognize today as idiosyncratic of Rodin-and distinctly modern. © 2013 Association of Art Historians.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: N Fine Arts > ND Painting
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Philosophy and Art History, School of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2012 20:24
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2019 15:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/2792

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