CAMILLE CLAUDEL IN THE MUSÉE-D'ORSAY








Maturity [L'Age Mûr], 1893-1903

This work is usually seen as an allegory of Man leaving Youth and being carried off by Death. The official guide to sculpture in the Musée d'Orsay, describes this work: ". . .in Maturity the man dragged along on the wave of life by the old woman is bending down. The young imploring figure, her hands now empty, has lost. Paul Claudel described her thus: 'This composition, whose unity springs from a rupture...this naked young woman, is my sister! My sister Camille. Imploring, humiliated on her knees, this haughty, proud woman...and do you know what is being torn from her, at that moment, before your very eyes--her soul!'" (80) Thus this work can be read as autobiographical, sometimes more specifically as representing a triangle in which the man is Rodin, the imploring young woman, Camille, and the old woman, Rose Beuret, or more generally as a symbolic representation of the painful break between Claudel and Rodin.
 
 

Torso of Clotho, 1893

Clotho, a daughter of Zeus and Themis, is the youngest of the three Fates, and the spinner who spins the thread of human life with her distaff. Here the fate is depicted as an old woman.


Work Cited:
Anne Pingeot. Orsay Sculpture. Paris: Éditions Scala, 2003.

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© 2007 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. (I would appreciate being told if you find them useful.) They are not available for commercial purposes without my explicit permission.