CAMILLE CLAUDEL: THE STRUGGLE FOR ARTISTIC IDENTITY
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During Camille Claudel's lifetime, she pursued a career that was largely defined in terms of Auguste Rodin. This perspective of her work may be seen most notably in the reactions to her sculpture L'Âge Mûr. This work was interpreted as an allegory of two women's struggle for one man -- the artist Rodin. The sculpture depicts an old woman on the left and at the apex, who leads away a middle-aged man. Reaching toward him is a young woman, appearing on bended knee. Claudel intended L'Âge Mûr to be the means for her to develop into an independent artist. The success of this ambitious sculptural group would also have meant a certain amount of financial independence and stability. However, the reception was not as she expected. Scholars interpreted the work within the narrow parameters of her relationship with Rodin despite the presence of themes of destiny and fate. Still today, when many scholars write about this piece, they emphasize Claudel's personal life and overlook the clues to a deeper meaning indicated by the title, her words, and in the context of her other sculptures. This thesis addresses the impact of Claudel's personal and professional relationship with Rodin on her work first, but then considers L'Âge Mûr in a different light. The path she took to become a woman sculptor in nineteenth-century France will be explored. Her relationship with Rodin, her use of themes of destiny, and the educational and societal restraints on a woman sculptor in nineteenth-century France all inform our understanding of L'Âge Mûr.
Table of Contents
Abstract -- List of illustrations -- Introduction -- L'Âge Mûr: personal events revealed -- L'Âge Mûr: the progression of life -- The emergence of the woman sculptor in latter nineteenth-century France -- Appendix -- Illustrations -- Reference list