In 1881, Rodin received a commission from the Ministry of Fine Arts for two large figures of Adam and Eve. He suggested placing them either side of The Gates of Hell, possibly inspired by the arrangement of Michelangelo’s Slaves flanking the door from the Palazzo Stanga in the Louvre.
For Adam, he almost certainly reused an existing work, since he exhibited the statue the same year at the Salon of 1881, under the name The Creation of Man. Both the title and the pose of this large-scale figure attest to the enormous influence of Michelangelo’s works, notably the celebrated painting of Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (1508-1512).
The well-developed musculature, which suggests great physical strength, contrasts with the bizarre pose, which calls to mind a tormented being. Pointing his finger towards the ground, Rodin’s Adam seems to emphasize his earthly bonds, whereas Michelangelo shows man at the moment when God confers the divine spark of life upon him.
Full sculpture of Adam here
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