Auguste Rodin, French, 1840 - 1917. Carved by Camille Raynaud, French, 1868 - after 1931.

Made in France, Europe

Modeled 1895; carved 1900-1901


29 1/8 × 17 1/16 × 18 1/8 inches (74 × 43.4 × 46.1 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 152, European Art 1850-1900, first floor (Toll Gallery)

Accession Number:
Cat. 1148

Credit Line:
John G. Johnson Collection, 1917

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Rodin used the sculptor Camille Claudel, his student and lover, as the model for this personification of thought.

Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    For Auguste Rodin, sculptural meaning always resided in the human form, and with Thought he explores the power of intellection, resident in the mind, to animate and transmute blind nature. This work was an experiment, as he once explained, an attempt to see if he could sculpt a head that seemed so alive as to give vitality to the stone from which it was made. Here a beautiful and subtly carved female head emerges from a jagged block of raw marble. Her chin still embedded in rock, the transformation is incomplete, however, and the dichotomy between inert matter and pulsing flesh remains tensely unresolved. Poignantly, the model for Thought was the talented sculptor Camille Claudel, who was Rodin's mistress at the time and his collaborator before their definitive rupture in the early 1890s. Christopher Riopelle, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 201.

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