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Le Cri

Henry J. Simonds, Pittsburgh, PA
March 17, 2010
Ed. of 5 — 22½” x 30”x 1”
Piezo print on archival polymer paper on aluminum
Signed, titled, dated, and numbered on back of mount


In 1880, the French Directorate of Fine Arts awarded Auguste Rodin with a commission for a monumental door in the style of Lorenzo Ghiberti’s 15th century portal, The Gates of Paradise.  The proposed sculptural composition La Porte de l'Enfer (The Gates of Hell) was to be an inviting entrance to a planned Decorative Arts Museum and was to be delivered in 1885.  Given the freedom to choose the theme, Rodin – an admirer of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy  - based the design on scenes from the epic poem’s first passages - “Inferno”.  Although the museum was never built, Rodin became consumed by the undertaking and devoted much of the next twenty years to the project and the many works that derived from it.  This bronze bust, Le Cri (c. 1886), was originally part of a series of headers intended for the doorway’s lintel, but, like many of The Gates’ 180 figures, it evolved into a striking individual piece. While the years of labor on these portals would spawn many of his most famous independent creations - The Thinker, The Kiss, Ugolino and his Children, The Three Shades, Adam, and Eve - Rodin would never see his full vision realized.  As it was, The Gates of Hell was finally installed at the newly created Musée Rodin in 1919, two years after his death. 
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