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The Vase of the Titans

Modeled c. 1878-1880; cast January 8, 1890
Artist/maker: Auguste Rodin, French, 1840 - 1917. Artist/maker: Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse, French, 1824 - 1887. Made by Hautin, Boulenger et Cie, Choisy-le-Roi, France, 1878 - 1934

The four male figures whose twisting bodies struggle under the weight of a monumental vase were modeled by Auguste Rodin after a drawing made by the sculptor and designer Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse. The muscle-bound bodies recall those of Michelangelo, whose sculpture Rodin had studied in Italy in 1875–76. Following his return to Paris, Rodin drew on his time in Italy to explore the psychological and physical torment experienced by the race of giants who were vanquished by the gods of Olympus.

Carrier-Belleuse incorporated the four figures sculpted by Rodin, who was then an assistant in his studio, into a vase decorated with oak leaves, acorns, and blue skinks, or lizards. The two artists collaborated on several sculptural ceramics and other pieces of displayware in the 1860s and 1870s. This example, with its luminous blue-green glaze, was produced by the Hautin, Boulanger & Co. factory in France on January 8, 1890.


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