Auguste Rodin’s The Gates of Hell is a striking bronze sculpture that depicts a scene from Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. The monumental art piece stands at an impressive 20 feet and features over 180 figures, making it one of the artist’s most significant works. Rodin designed The Gates of Hell as a set of doors for the entryway to a museum in Paris in the late 19th century. After winning the competition to create this work, he continued to refine and develop it for over three decades until his death in 1917.
The sculpture showcases several individual figures from Dante’s Inferno, including Paolo and Francesca, Ugolino della Gherardesca, and Minos, among others. One of its most iconic elements is the figure of The Thinker perched on top of the gates, symbolizing Dante pondering his epic poem which deals with themes such as love, suffering, and human condition.
Throughout his long career working on The Gates Of Hell sculptural project, Rodin drew inspiration from it for future works such as his iconic piece “The Kiss.” Moreover, many other sculptors also took inspiration from this piece when designing their sculptures. Today visitors can view the original masterpiece at Musée Rodin in Paris where it remains one of its most popular attractions.