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The Fall of the Angels

The Fall of the Angels

c. 1890-1900

Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

Marble

Overall: 53.5 x 69.9 x 40.6 cm (21 1/16 x 27 1/2 x 16 in.)

Gift of Carrie Moss Halle in memory of Salmon Portland Halle 1960.85

Description

The entwined couple in this sculpture recalls the figures on Rodin’s monumental doorway The Gates of Hell. Struck by Dante Alighieri’s descriptions of the damned suffering in hell because of their sins of the flesh, Rodin populated his portal with embracing lovers symbolic of carnal desire and sensual pleasure. Here, a winged figure alludes to the biblical account of the angels who were cast out of Heaven after siding with Satan (Revelation 12:4). Rodin preferred marble for erotic subjects. The juxtaposition between the smooth, sensual surfaces of the figures and the rough-hewn areas below gives the impression that the couple is blossoming into life from hard, lifeless stone.

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