The Prodigal Son is a bronze sculpture created by French sculptor Auguste Rodin around 1884. It depicts the Biblical story of a man with two sons, one of whom returns home after squandering his inheritance. The sculpture was created from Rodin’s reuse and adaptation of favorite themes and compositions, resulting in dramatic intensity when scaled up in size.
As an artist, Rodin abandoned polished and idealized figures of academic sculpture to embrace rougher, more unfinished surfaces that express movement, restlessness, and corporeality. This approach is seen in The Prodigal Son with its textured surface and unfinished quality. Versions of the sculpture can be found in several museums worldwide such as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Musée Rodin in Paris, and the San Diego Museum of Art.
Rodin’s reputation for artistic genius is justified by his prolific works’ extraordinary variety that reflect his ardor and passion for every project he undertakes. In summary, The Prodigal Son by Auguste Rodin represents both religious symbolism through its subject matter as well as a significant shift towards a more raw, expressive aesthetic in art during this period.