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Iris, Messenger of the Gods (Iris, messagère des dieux)

In Greek mythology, Iris was a link between the gods and the world of humans. Rodin originally conceived of this figure as part of his Monument to Victor Hugo, but later he developed it as an autonomous work. Several versions, cast at different times in different sizes, now exist. This is Rodin’s most frankly erotic sculpture, emphasizing the figure’s exposed genitalia. The figure’s pose also alludes to avant-garde forms of dance that were developing in the late nineteenth century. Seeming to defy the laws of gravity as she balances on one foot, Iris’s muscular body indeed suggests that of a dancer.

Auguste Rodin
French, 1840‒1917
Iris, Messenger of the Gods (Iris, messagère des dieux)
1890/91 (cast 1960)
Bronze
17 x 17 x 9 in. (43.2 x 43.2 x 22.9 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of Marion and Rudolf Gottfried, 2011.40