Rodin and Camille Claudel: a love and an art story

Auguste Rodin | Camille Claudel


If you had to give the story between Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel a title, it would probably be “Beauty and the Beast”.

When they met he was already a famous sculptor, he was more than 40 years old, lame, short and also short-sighted.
Camille, instead, was a beautiful 18-year-old girl who had arrived in Paris in the 1880s from northern France with a head full of dreams.
She was the pupil, he was the master.

Eventually they became lovers, and the works they created seem to be the representation of their tumultuous love.

Rodin and Camille Claudel: a love

Camille Claudel
Camille believed in the impossible: she thought she would become a sculptress at a time when leading art schools didn’t allow women to enroll in their courses.
She enrolled in a less renowned art school, which admitted women, and soon, by any chance, she met Auguste Rodin and became his favourite pupil.

Rodin, a charismatic sculptor, assigned her the task of rough-hewing his works as well as of finishing hands and feet.
Their relationship certainly went beyond and became a relentless analysis of the compositions and in the works they made is difficult to indentify Rodin’s and Camille’s contribution.

Rodin and Camille Claudel became a clandestine couple, but for a while that thing didn’t seem to be very important.
To Camille Rodin was the sculptor and his lover, the art master and the seducer, and she was mesmerized and deeply in love with him.
He was married and promised that he would leave his wife for her, a thing that, obviously, would never happen!

The love story between Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel would last more than 10 years and leave an indelible mark on both of them and on their artworks.
It’s hard for you not to think of their love story looking at the famous sculpture entitled “The Kiss”.

REA ALSO – The Kiss by Rodin: where you can admire

She would go mad, and would be committed to an asylum, where she would die at the age of 78.
Rodin would achieve success and become the great sculptor we all know, even though doubts that some of his masterpieces were actually conceived and made together with Camille persist.

Rodin used Camille Claudel’s skills as if she were any other assistant, but it’s not easy to observe some works of that period and not to think of their troubled relationship.
Camille prepared the clay, the plaster and the structure, modelled the hands and the feet of the sculptures, and it seems impossible that they didn’t shared the stylistic choices.

In the spring of 2017 in Nogent-sur-Seine, a small French town in the south-east of Paris, the Musée Camille Claudel opened to the public, which is a museum completely devoted to Camille’s artworks.
In fact, Camille left amazing artworks, although they’re few, which prove how great was her talent and where movement and stillness are in perfect balance.


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5 thoughts on “Rodin and Camille Claudel: a love and an art story

  1. Just a little correction.
    She was 78 y.o. when she died and 48 when she was taken to the asylum.
    Also, I do not believe Rodin and Rose were ever married.
    Otherwise wonderful article.

  2. Camille non era pazza era solo depressa… Fu isolata completamente dalla famiglia che alla morte del padre decise di rinchiuderla in un manicomonio dove morì di stenti

    • La madre ebbe un ruolo fondamentale nel decidere il destino di Camille. Per la madre la figlia era una vergogna da allontanare e doveva giustificare la sua condotta come “follia”.

  3. In the film Midnight in Paris, The French tour guide at Versailles and Paul, a pedantic American academic, argue about whether Rose or Camille was Rodin’s wife. I am not sure, who his wife was, a third woman perhaps? Interesting question

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