Heroic Bust of Victor Hugo

  • Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)

  • 83 x 56 x 65 cm
  • 1902 (2), 1908
  • Bronze (casting by Alexis Rudier)
  • MVHP S 1453-0093
  • Victor Hugo’s house in Paris, donation by Paul Meurice

As he was feeling too tired, Hugo refused to pose for Rodin but the sculptor succeeded in stealing thumbnail sketches in 1883. From these drawings, he made a first bust and then engravings. In his reflections on projects for monuments, the sculptor developed a long creative process which resulted in this Heroic Bust. Rodin chose to tilt the face to accentuate the dramatic aspect and produced an image of a poet gazing into infinity as he meditates. The plaster was exhibited on top of a column at the 1902 Exhibition, and then given the following year to the museum for its opening pending the bronze cast which had been commissioned by Paul Meurice but which was only made in 1908.