The Thinker, by Auguste Rodin, 1902
The Thinker, by Auguste Rodin, 1902.
Originally entitled The Poet, Rodin placed this figure at the top of a monumental set of doors that had been commissioned by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, which was to serve as the entrance to the museum. Rodin based his theme on Dante's The Divine Comedy and the work as a whole was to be called The Gates of Hell.
The Thinker was originally meant to depict Dante in front of the Gates of Hell, pondering his great poem. In the final sculptural ensemble, a miniature of the statue sits atop the gates, pondering the hellish fate of those beneath him.
As a work taken on its own terms, The Thinker has entered the popular imaginary as an immediately recognizable symbol of intellectual activity.
The Poet (aka The Thinker), by Auguste Rodin|WikiMedia Commons