This work originated from a portrait of the gifted sculptress, Camille Claudel (1864-1943), Rodin's pupil and mistress. However, it was made some years after they had separated and her features were mixed with those of another sitter, Mariana Russell, at the various stages of evolution of the design of this work. A photograph of 1903 by Bulloz of 'Work in Progress: La France' shows this, the final version, originated from a cast of Claudel's face. In earlier versions, the head faced to its right (as in a version Rodin presented to Glasgow University when he was awarded an honorary degree in 1906), but it was later reversed. At various times it was re-used and re-titled including as 'St George' from at least 1904 (the title Rodin gave to the Glasgow version), 'Byzantine Princess' and 'Empress of the Late Roman Empire'. In 1912, the head, with the title of 'France' was unveiled as part of - and the country France's contribution to - a monument to Samuel Champlain in New York. This was its title when Rodin presented this head to the V&A in 1914.
This object is part of "Scan The World". Scan the World is a non-profit initiative introduced by MyMiniFactory, through which we are creating a digital archive of fully 3D printable sculptures, artworks and landmarks from across the globe for the public to access for free. Scan the World is an open source, community effort, if you have interesting items around you and would like to contribute, email email@example.com to find out how you can help.
Scanned : Photogrammetry (Processed using Agisoft PhotoScan)
Courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London