I was excited at the prospect of this exhibition at The Courtauld because I had been enthralled by Rodin’s drawings which I discovered whilst studying Sculpture 1 and it is unusual to find an exhibition concentrating on a sculptor’s working models and drawings rather than final works.
The central element of the small exhibition is a series of small plaster models which he had cast from clay forms which he made. These are rather like the traditional artists wooden model in that he made a pointing arm, say, and had multiple copies of it made which he then combined with different other body parts to create small figurines in different poses. This gave some of the figures a rather peculiar look but others a rather abstract one.
The exhibition was in two small rooms, lined with his drawings. These included some drawn from the models but also life drawings with his famous drawings of Cambodian dancers the most interesting. These were executed during performance with a hand, say, drawn in multiple positions as the dance progressed.
He added to the sense of mood and movement of his drawings with later additions of watercolour. I was surprised to learn that he also collaged them, in this example, two separate sketches together to make a new arrangement.
Ultimately, I was disappointed in this exhibition as I felt the drawings on show were some of his poorer works and many did not have the excuse of being relevant to the models. The exhibition did include. one small sculpture of Nijinski, which was exquisite.
Normally I enjoy sketching in exhibitions, but on this occasion my dominant hand was in a splint and drawing was a frustrating experience as I had no fine control over my pen or pencil. Here are my poor efforts.