AugusteRodin was born in Paris, November 12, 1840. His father was aninspector of the Paris Prefecture de Police, and his mother was aseamstress. Rodin also had a sister, Maria, who was 2 years olderthan him. He grew up in the Mouffetard, a working class district ofParis. He attended the Petit Ecole, or the École Impériale Spécialede Dessin et de Mathématiques, which was a school for the decorativearts.
Here, he obtained a foundation in traditional eighteenthcentury French art. He also studied under the French sculptorAntoine-Louis Barye, well known for his animal subjects, and whoinformally taught Rodin anatomical structure. Rodin attempted toenter the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts, but was denied on allthree attempts. Though he passed the painting exams, he failed topass the sculpting exams. Scholars believe this was due to hissculptures leaning more towards realism and less towards the morecommonly accepted classical style.Rodinthen decided to serve in an apprenticeship for many years thereafter.
He was under the employment of Alber Carrier-Belleuse in his studioat Paris. Rodin followed Albert to Belgium during the Franco-PrussianWar, where he continued on as his assistant. It was here in Belgiumthat he partnered with Antoine Van Ransbourgh towards the completionof stone sculptures, such as the symbolic groups of Asia and Africafor Brussels Bourse.Ashis city was in the process of urban renewal, Rodin maintained acareer in decorative arts for many years by working on publicmonuments.
Grieving for the death of his sister in 1862, Rodin joineda Catholic order for some time before continuing his pursuit of art.He completed what he considered to be his first great work by the mid1860’s titled, “Mask of the Man With the Broken Nose”. Due topursuing realism, as opposed to following more classic perceptions ofbeauty, it was rejected by the Paris Salon twice. It featured thesimple features of a local handyman.