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Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’ visits Brazil

October 27th, 2009

A sculpture by French artist Auguste Rodin is displayed at the Palacetes das Artes in Salvador de Bahia

“The Thinker,” the iconic sculpture by French artist Auguste Rodin, has a new home for the next three years: a museum in this tropical city in northeastern Brazil.

The figure, of an athletic man sitting and resting his chin on his hand in contemplation, is one of 62 works being loaned to the new Rodin museum in the Palacetes das Artes in Salvador de Bahia, which opened its doors on Monday.

“The Kiss,” another Rodin work almost as famous, is also on display.

The unprecedented cooperation between the Brazilian and French museums was finalized out as part of the Year of France in Brazil, a celebration of French culture that winds down next month. But the entire arrangements took eight years to complete.

“These works carry the marks from the hands, from the fingers of Rodin as he worked to give shape to his ideas and instincts. In that, they are unique and rare, and allow us to understand the creative process of the artist,” said Heloisa Helena, the conservator of the Salvador museum.

Rodin (1840-1917) remains one of the best-known and most prolific French artists. His trademark was powerful, expressive and slightly oversized hands on his figures, and faces that are remarkable for their liveliness.

Salvador de Bahia has lost a lot of its glory since losing its status as Brazil’s first colonial capital.

But with a general increase in Brazil’s wealth, its fortunes are on the upturn, and tourists are flocking to see its baroque architecture and enjoy the effusive African heritage of its three million inhabitants.

“Having these works here will allow our own artists to communicate with the world. It will be a new tourist attraction for Bahia,” the state’s culture minister, Marcio Meirelles, said.

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