Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
'Head of Iris'
Height 58.4 cm
Inscribed 'A. Rodin.' on the right of the base
Museum no. A.41-1914
Given by the artist
This is an enlarged version of the head of the Crouching Woman. Rodin believed that light falling across broad planes and broken surfaces helped create form in the much the same way that painters in Renaissance Venice, like Titian, had used colour to evoke form and volume.
The modernity of Rodin's approach is expressed here through the block-like forms and the seam lines left by the plaster moulds (these are usually removed). Their presence challenges conventional ideas of 'ideal beauty' and what might be conventionally accepted as a finished sculpture. Rodin's Head of Iris, like The Crouching Woman, was to influence later 20th-century sculptors.