François Auguste René Rodin, born in Paris (1840-1917), was a sculptor whose work had a huge influence on modern art, although he did not set out to rebel against the past. He was schooled traditionally, took a craftsman-like approach to his work, and desired academic recognition, although he was never accepted into Paris's foremost school of art.

'The Thinker', also known as 'Le Penseur', is a bronze sculpture famed as one of Rodin's most well-known works. It depicts a nude male figure of heroic size sitting on a rock with his chin resting on one hand as though deep in thought, often used as an image to represent philosophy. Many marble and bronze editions in several sizes were executed in Rodin’s lifetime and after, but the most famous version is the 6-foot (1.8-meter) monumental statue cast in 1904 that sits in the gardens of the Rodin Museum in Paris. The large muscular figure has captivated large audiences in his moment of concentrated introspection.

Rodin first conceived the figure as part of his work 'The Gates of Hell' commissioned in 1880, but the first of the familiar monumental bronze castings did not appear until 1904.

He originally named this work, 'The Poet'. Rodin possessed a unique ability to model a complex, turbulent, deeply pocketed surface in clay which became his moulds for his bronze castings. Many of his notable sculptures were criticized during his lifetime because he refused to follow current ornate art trends of that era.

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