Tag Archives: Auguste Rodin

People’s Choice Award: No. 1

Edgar Degas. Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen. Original model 1881; this cast 1919‑1921. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Alice Morawetz Bequest Fund, BMA 1943.1

Edgar Degas. Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen. Original model 1881; this cast 1919‑1921. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Alice Morawetz Bequest Fund, BMA 1943.1

Over the past 100 days, we’ve taken you on an insider’s exploration of the BMA’s collection through the eyes of its curators, conservators, and registrars. We’ve seen objects from all over the world, including Mali, Japan, Italy, and America; we’ve looked at paintings and prints, record players, decomposing fruit skins, and delicate textiles. The project has highlighted some of our favorite, amusing, unusual, and obscure objects.

Now it’s time to discover your favorite pieces in the BMA collection. To celebrate our 100th Anniversary, we invited everyone to vote for their favorite artwork from a group of 100 selected by the Museum’s chief curator, with voting closing on December 21.

From December 22, we’ve been counting down the top 10 works of art on social media, one each day until the end of the year. Today, we reveal the number 1 work of art in our collection according to you.

So, what do you love? Your favorite works of art are:

  1. Edgar Degas. Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen. Original model 1881; this cast 1919‑1921.
  2. Auguste Rodin. The Thinker. Original model 1880; this cast 1904‑1917.
  3. Striding Lion. Syria (present-day Turkey). 5th century.
  4. Henri Matisse. Interior with Dog. 1934.
  5. Paul Cézanne. Mont Sainte‑Victoire Seen from the Bibémus Quarry. c. 1897.
  6. Dan Flavin. Untitled (To Barnett Newman for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”). 1993‑1994.
  7. Georgia O’Keeffe. Pink Tulip. 1926.
  8. Paul Gauguin. Vahine no te vi (Woman of the Mango). 1892.
  9. John Frederick Kensett. View on the Hudson. 1865.
  10. Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun. Princess Anna Alexandrovna Galitzin. c. 1797.
The People's Choice top 10 works, shown in order.

The People’s Choice top 10 works, shown in order.

People’s Choice Award: No. 2

Auguste Rodin. The Thinker. Original model 1880; this cast 1904‑1917. The Baltimore Museum of Art: The Jacob Epstein Collection, BMA 1930.25.1

Auguste Rodin. The Thinker. Original model 1880; this cast 1904‑1917. The Baltimore Museum of Art: The Jacob Epstein Collection, BMA 1930.25.1

To celebrate our 100th Anniversary, we invited everyone to vote for their favorite artwork from a group of 100 selected by the Museum’s chief curator. Your 2nd favorite work in the BMA collection is Auguste Rodin. The Thinker. Original model 1880; this cast 1904‑1917.

3D scanning Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker

A 3D scan of Auguste Rodin's The Thinker

Direct Dimensions’ 3D scan of Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker in The Baltimore Museum of Art collection

The BMA has one of only 21 authorized “heroic” sized casts of Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker in the world, and in June this year, we partnered with Maryland-based Direct Dimensions, Inc. – a leader in 3D scanning technology – to do a 3D scan of the sculpture.

The move is part of the BMA’s initiative to increase its use of 3D scanning in the digitization of its collection. We were inspired to see how utilizing 3D scanning technologies might allow us to see The Thinker differently, and to discover what other people might be able to do with such scans if they were made available to scholars and the public via the Internet.

Museums are beginning to embrace the possibilities for digital scanning for multiple purposes, and the BMA has previously partnered with Direct Dimensions to scan works for scholarly research.  In 2004, Direct Dimensions was engaged to scan two separate castings of Antoine-Louis Barye’s Walking Tiger. By scanning the two tigers and overlaying the resulting 3D models, the BMA was able to dimensionally inspect and compare the two castings.

The Museum again worked with Direct Dimensions in 2007 and 2008, in support of the exhibition Matisse: Painter as Sculptor, which featured more than 160 sculptures, along with paintings and drawings from the artist. BMA curators were interested in utilizing the scanning technology to discover more about Matisse’s creative process as a sculptor. Their analysis of the scans led to the discovery that bronze casts of the same edition had considerable differences in their methods of construction, patination, finishing, and size, contributing to knowledge about how Matisse created various casts.

These kinds of scholarly and conservation-driven research projects offer some of the most tantalizing outcomes for 3D scanning and printing in museums today. For instance, conservators can use deviation analysis of 3D data to compare the condition of a collection item against a past state, or curators can use the technology to learn more about the techniques of artists, as the BMA did with the Matisse sculptures.

The addition of affordable 3D printing to the available technologies has expanded the possibilities for how such scans can be used. The Brooklyn Museum, for example, has scanned Randolph Rogers’s The Lost Pleiad to experiment with replicating a 19th-century statue with 21st century technology. The Museum has used this sculpture as an in-Gallery teaching tool. Similarly, the Semitic Museum has used 3D printing in the reconstruction of a Nuzi lion. A damaged version of Rodin’s The Thinker has even been scanned before, to enable repairs to the sculpture after thieves broke into the Singer Laren Museum and damaged the original.

The BMA’s The Thinker – a 6-foot, 6-inch sculpture – was presented to the museum in 1930 by Jacob Epstein, a collector and member of the first Board of Trustees, and displayed in front of the entrance to the John Russell Pope building until 1971 when it was moved inside for conservation.  Though originally intended to represent the poet Dante, The Thinker has become a symbol for thinkers and creators around the world.

We have plans to offer our scan of The Thinker to the world, by putting it into the public domain along with the nearly 9,000 images and related information about objects in the BMA’s collection that are already available on our website. This will be the first time we’ve made available a 3D scan of a BMA object, and we’re looking forward to seeing how it might be used by scholars and the public all over the world.

What do you think? How might you use a 3D scan of The Thinker? What would you like to see us do with this scan?

To find out more about 3D scanning, join us this weekend at Artscape, where we’ll be joined by Direct Dimensions for activities inspired by The Thinker.