Auguste Rodin (1840 - 1917)

L’éternel printemps

Eternal Springtime
    Bronze with brown patina, not numbered
  • Cast by Barbedienne, Paris, 1902
66 × 83 × 42 cm
Signatures and Inscriptions
First reduction, incised with signature ΄Rodin΄ (on the back, behind the man), incised ΄F. BARBEDIENNE Fondeur΄ (on the back, behind the woman’s feet), number given by the caster inside: 55592 / 1550

Cast authorized by Rodin

Unknown art dealer, Paris

Anonymous sale, Sotheby’s,

New York, 13 November 1997, lot 515

Private collection, since 1997


Andros, Museum of Contemporary Art, Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, Classics of Modern Art, 27 June - 19 September 1999, pp. 52-53, ill. p. 53


Georges Grappe, Le Musée Rodin, Henri Laurens, Paris, 1934

Cécile Goldscheider, Rodin, Arted, Paris, 1967

John L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin: The Collection of the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia, Museum of Art, Philadelphia, and David Godine, Boston, 1976

Albert Edward Elsen, In Rodin’s Studio: A Photographic Record of Sculpture in the Making, Phaidon, Oxford and Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, 1980

Alain Beausire, Quand Rodin exposait, Musée Rodin, Paris, 1988

Antoinette le Normand-Romain, Le Baiser de Rodin, Musée Rodin, Paris, 1995

Current location
Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens
Floor 1st
Tour Guide Code
Audio Guide

During his long career, counting nearly sixty years, Auguste Rodin rarely carried out sculptures representing a couple in love. His few attempts, however, were so remarkable that they are still today unanimously recognized as part of his masterpieces.

Among them, the artist had a fondness for the Eternal Springtime, an integral part of the colossal and long-lasting work Gates of Hell, inspired by Dante’s Inferno, which was never completed but gave way to a large amount of significant works. In the Eternal Springtime this literary reference is just a pretext, a starting point after all. As the modelling was progressing, Rodin moved away from it. Everything was made lighter, hazier, looser: the embrace is passionate, the gestures are wide, the bodies are captured in postures that are more reminiscent of a dance rather than a first kiss.

Camille Claudel’s influence on Rodin and his work is undeniable. At that time Claudel was an apprentice at his studio and later on she turned out to be his partner and lover. The Eternal Springtime can be deemed as Rodin’s tribute to his love for Claudel. In this magnified view, he made sure that he had shaded what separated him from his young mistress: their age gap of 24 years disappeared and their respective egos did not fight anymore. Although he conceived the man’s figure wrapping around the woman in a protective embrace, he also ensured that it is in no way diminished by this ascendancy. On the contrary, her position makes her more wilful, more involved in abandonment than all the other lovers sculpted by Rodin. The lovers, standing this time, are seized by the same rush isolating them from the rest of the world. In these two works, the couple appears united, certainly captured by a passion exceeding them but claiming the right to enjoy, if only for a moment, this union. Ironically, the Eternal Springtime had a tremendous success only in 1898, shortly after the separation between Rodin and Claudel.

The copy presented here is part of a set casted in 1902. It is a sculpture corresponding to the second stage of production, namely the first reduction of the work. Its difference compared to the original plaster is due to the fact that it was modelled from the first marble version that Rodin executed. Unable to reproduce the man’s raised arm in stone, the artist eventually placed it on a pedestal reminding rocks. This trick seemed to please him since it was the one immortalized in all versions carried out that year.



Auguste Rodin
(1840 - 1917)
First Name
Last Name
Paris, France, 1840
Meudon, France, 1917