Like some artists, Rodin was not an overnight success. Even though he was rejected numerous times from art schools because of his art style, he prevailed in the end. Rodin, like many artists, got their inspiration from other great and famous artists. In Rodin’s case, his inspiration came from Michelangelo. In Rodin’s more famous works, one can see the similarities between the two artists’ artwork.
Rodin’s parents were not wealthy, therefore, he was not able to attend an art school of his choice. His father, however, did send him to Petite cole, “a training ground for commercial draftsman and practiciens–cutters and finishers of work in stone” (Hale 38). At the
age of seventeen, Rodin won his first prize for a clay model and he came in second place for one of his drawings. His teachers at Petite cole encouraged him to “try for the Grande cole des Beaux-Arts” (Hale 39). He applied, but was not accepted. Not giving up hope, Rodin applied
two more times, but was rejected. Determined to make a living, he worked for a large commercial designer. It was there, that he created numerous objects with his hands; anything from masks of gods to cupids. This is where he began to see that he had a future in what he loved the most, art.
Even though Rodin was an artist, his career did not take off so soon. When he was 22, his sister Maria died. He anguished so much over her death that he decided to leave his art. He quit everything and decided to enter the Order of the Fathers of the Very Holy Sacrament. While living in the monastery, Rodin confided in Father Eymard, and he was the one that told Rodin to continue sculpting and not to give up. Rodin eventually realized that religion was not his calling and once he had enough money saved up, he moved into his first studio. From that point on, he was fully committed to his artwork. Rodin said that it was so cold in his studio, (he could not afford to have heat) that he would wake up and see parts of his sculptures on the floor.
“Since I didn’t have the money to have them cast, each day I lost precious time coveringmy clay with wet cloths. Despite that, at every turn I had accidents from the effects of the
cold and heat. Entire sections detached themselvesheads, arms, knees, chunks of torso
fell off; I found them in pieces on the tiles that covered the floor… You could not believe
what I lost in that way” (Hale 42).
In 1864, Rodin created a masterpiece, something that would change his life forever. He created The Man with the Broken Nose, and with the new creation he said, “It determined all my future work” (Hale 43). The “new” sculpture was not found to be worth anything after Rodin tried to enter it in the Salon. So, he took it back home and placed it in a corner for numerous years. One day, one of Rodin’s students saw the lonely bust and asked if he could borrow it to make copy. Rodin did not refuse and when the student, Jules Desbois took it to his classmates at the Grande cole, they were astounded. All of Desbois’s classmates stood around with amazement, all asking who created such an antique (meaning that is was old, in a sense of not being used or displayed) masterpiece. Desbois said, “The man who made it, whose name is Rodin, failed three times to enter the school, and the work you take to be antique was refused by the Salon'” (Hale 45).
In 1866, Rose, his girlfriend, gave birth to a baby boy. He soon had a job with one of the best employers around, Carrier-Belleuse. There, he was a draftsman, molder, finisher and a caster. He eventually left because he had all the money that he claimed he needed. In 1870, he was called to serve in the National Guard, but was released because of his poor vision. By this time, there was no money and Rodin tried to call previous clients that could possibly want some decorating done. All ties were broken after he left the