The Thinker

by Auguste Rodin

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The Thinker at the Rodin Museum

Credit: J. Smith for GPTMC

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1880 (enlarged 1902-4)
Rodin Museum
In front of Rodin Museum
(215) 763-8100

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Possibly one of the most imitated sculpture positions of all time, French sculptor Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker depicts a seated man resting his chin on his hand in deep meditation. The iconic bronze adorns the entrance to the Rodin Museum, just down the street from the museum of art. 

Rodin originally conceived a smaller version of this sculpture to sit atop his monumental bronze portal entitled The Gates of Hell (1880-1917) - which are also on view at the museum. The figure was intended to represent Italian poet Dante Alighieri pondering The Divine Comedy, his epic story of Paradise and Inferno. However, in 1889 Rodin exhibited the sculpture independently of The Gates, giving it the title The Thinker, and in 1902 he embarked on this larger version.

Philadelphia is home to the most extensive collection of Auguste Rodin’s work outside of Paris and many of the works are on view in this recently renovated museum and garden. So, take a look around, and then go ahead: strike the pose.