Inspiring Vision: The Thinker


"A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is visible labor and there is invisible labor." – Victor Hugo

In 1880, the sculptor August Rodin was commissioned to create a set of massive bronze doors for the Decorative Arts Museum (Paris), which became a piece that is now known as, The Gates of Hell. This piece took 37 years to complete, and ultimately, it never reached its intended destination. However, it is now on display at Musée Rodin, a worthwhile stop the next time you are in the City of Lights.

The Gates illustrated Dante's Inferno, part of the Renaissance epic The Divine Comedy. As Rodin honed his craft, he demonstrated his immense talent in illustrating emotion through the human body, not just through facial expressions but through posture and stance. On the mantel of the doors is a figure that became known as The Thinker, and it went on to be cast many times in a wide range of sizes (did you think there was only one Thinker?).

Rodin's The Thinker, and its evolution, are a great reminder that we don't truly know where our efforts will lead or how they may elevate when we start. So we get to work and refine our craft as we go. Sometimes it is only after things run their course that we look back and realize the true elements of genius reveal themselves.


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