Auguste Rodin’s bronze sculpture, also known as “The Helmet-Maker’s Once Beautiful Wife,” stands 19 1/2 x 12 x 7 3/4 in. and depicts the concept of physical beauty diminished by time. Created between circa 1889-1890, the statue is part of the European Sculpture collection and was gifted to the museum by Iris and B. Gerald Cantor.
Rodin’s sculpting technique portrays a graceful yet heartbreaking image of a once-beautiful woman ravaged by time. The thinness of her body contrasts sharply with her sharp, intelligent face, which shows a sense of acceptance for what she has become; this renowned depiction is considered beautiful by some. The sculpture has captivated minds for over a century due to its dramatic and complex portrayal of fleshliness vs thinness.
It should be noted that Auguste Rodin was inspired by the Greek Mythology “Clytie” when creating ‘She Who Was The Helmet-Maker’s Beautiful Wife.’ According to mythology, Clytie longed for Apollo after he abandoned her; every day she sat on the ground looking at his chariot pass-by while heliotrope covered her feet until one day became rooted to the ground forever staring at him as he passed above her.