Rodin on beauty (1910)

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In praise of modern beauty

Auguste Rodin, the famous sculptor, has been asked if he does not think that the beauty of classic times far surpassed that of our own, and whether modern women are not far from equalling those who posed before Phidias.

“Not at all, was Rodin’s reply. “The artists of those days had eyes to see perfection, while those of today are blind. That is all! The Greek women were beautiful, but their beauty lay also in the mind of the sculptors who represented them. There are today women exactly similar — the women of Southern France especially. The women of modern Italy, for instance, belong to the same Mediterranean type as the models of Phidias.”

Rodin also remarked that in the union of the beautiful and the ugly, it is always the beautiful that finally gets the upper hand. Nature, by a divine law, constantly returns to the better; it incessantly turns to perfection.

“Again,” said Rodin, “beauty is everywhere; it is not beauty that is wanting in our eyes, but it is that our eyes fail to perceive it. Beauty is character and expression.”

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