Rodin’s iconic sculpture, ‘The Thinker,’ returns to Stanford

Jan. 24, 2012, 2:15 a.m.

After spending two years on loan at the North Carolina Museum of Art, a cast of Auguste Rodin’s “The Thinker” is back at Stanford, according to a Cantor Arts Center press release. The one-ton, 79-inch tall sculpture will be made available for public viewing at the museum starting this Wednesday.


Art collector B. Gerald Cantor gave Stanford the sculpture back in 1988 as a promised gift, which means it is still technically owned by the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, but is promised to become the property of the University in the future. The sculpture, one of 12 casts authorized by the Musée Rodin in Paris, will return to the Cantor Arts Center’s Susan and John Diekman Gallery — its home since 2006. Previously, the cast could be seen in front of Meyer Library.


“The Thinker” was first conceived as a figure at the top of a larger work called “The Gates of Hell,” which was sculpted by Rodin around 1880 and depicts a scene from Dante’s “The Inferno.” This figure, alternately called “The Poet” or “The Poet-Thinker,” was originally intended to represent Dante himself.


Today, however, “The Thinker” has become an iconic representation of intellect, philosophy and mediation.


A cast of “The Gates of Hell” can also been seen at the Cantor Arts Center, along with a collection of around 200 other Rodin sculptures.


This is not the first time that “The Thinker” has left the Farm. The sculpture also returned to the campus in 2002 after a year-long tour of Australia and Singapore.


The Cantor Arts Center is open to visitors 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Wednesday to Friday and until 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays. Admission is free.


— Kurt Chirbas

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