This lecture by Julie Bellow is presented in conjunction with Rodin: Truth Form Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collections.

Movement is a key attribute of Rodin’s sculpture and an overt theme in many of his late works. Rodin was so effective at animating his sculpted figures that it can be easy to overlook the degree of vivid stasis that they also project. Stillness is central our encounter with the sculpted object; it is also an essential, though often an unnoticed, component of dance performance. In his ballet Afternoon of a Faun (1912), Vaslav Nijinsky deliberately marked stillness as a choreographic material. Taking inspiration from Nijinsky’s use of stillness, Rodin created a sculpture of the dancer that condensed several key moments from Afternoon of a Faun into a single pose.

Juliet Bellow is Associate Professor of Art History at American University. Her book Modernism on Stage: The Ballets Russes and the Parisian Avant-Garde was published by Ashgate Press in 2013, and she served as a Consulting Scholar for the 2013 exhibition “Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, 1909-1929: When Art Danced With Music” at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Other publications include articles in Art Bulletin, Art Journal, American Art, and Modernism/modernity, and contributions to exhibition catalogues on Sonia Delaunay, Merce Cunningham, and Auguste Rodin.