Written by Amy Butcher on 18.08.15

Cramming for end-of-summer exams? Need some inspiration in between weekend work shifts this fall? Then get over to the Metamorphoses exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) to soak up the genius of legendary sculptor and artist Auguste Rodin.

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Metamorphoses Rodin (1)

An avid classicist and antiquities collector, Rodin revelled in reshaping ancient works into modern forms. His fascination for the human body’s disparate parts was obsessive, to say the least. “Antiquity is my youth,” the sculptor explained. Rodin wasn’t a slave to the past but instead used the ancients for essential lessons.

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Metamorphoses Rodin (5)

With the theme of “The Artist’s Studio,” the MMFA exhibit has you stroll around cases of Rodin’s classical arms, hands, and bodies that twist from impossible angles, like plaster ghosts grasping from the great beyond. The exhibit gives a clear sense of the artist’s talent for combining the old and new.

Photo: Amy Butcher

Specters and demons are another theme, with a whole section dedicated to “The Gates of Hell,” which depicts a scene from Dante’s Inferno. (Show off at your next cocktail party by casually mentioning that Rodin’s “The Thinker” is from this work and represents Dante himself.)

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Metamorphoses Rodin (2)

Another highlight is from Quebec filmmaker Denys Arcand and video artist Addad Hannah, who take the tableau vivant to a new level with The Burghers of Vancouver. This video piece gets personal with six strangers and their experience dressing up to recreate Rodin’s “The Burghers of Calais” in a documentary-style still-life that is strange yet sensible.

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Rodin Exhibit Montreal Museum

The experience is capped off by a space adapted for the visually impaired that involves all the senses. Touch rough-hewn clay and etched bronze while listening to the taps and bangs of the sculptor’s tools to become truly immersed in Rodin’s studio experience.

The MMFA’s “Metamorphoses: In Rodin’s Studio runs until October 18, 2015. For more information, visit the website.

1380 Rue Sherbrooke O Montréal, QC H3G 1J5
(514) 285-2000

Photos courtesy of the MMFA, unless indicated otherwise.

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