Lakeland, FL (June 15, 2022) – This summer, the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College presents “Rodin: Contemplation and Dreams / Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collections”on view June 25 through October 30, 2022, in the Museum’s Dorothy Jenkins Gallery, Gallery II, and Perkins Gallery. Featuring more than 40 works by the renowned and celebrated French sculptor Auguste Rodin, this exhibition brings one of art history’s most famous and influential French masters to Central Florida.

Auguste Rodin (1840–1917) revived for the modern world a new appreciation for the ageless beauty of bronze sculpture, mastering and modernizing a technique long associated with ancient Greek art. Rodin, like many modern artists of the time, believed that art should be true to nature, rather than idealized like much of the art and sculpture that came before. As a result, Rodin created sculptures that captured human movement, emotion, and drama. This exhibition introduces viewers to some of Rodin’s most famous works and projects, including “Saint John the Baptist Preaching,” “The Gates of Hell,” and “Three Faunesses.”

Displaying Auguste Rodin, ‘Claude Lorrain,’ modeled 1889, Musée Rodin cast 5 of 8, 1992 , Bronze, Coubertin Foundry, Lent by Iris Cantor.jpg

“Rodin is one of the most iconic artists in the history of art, modern or otherwise, with sculptures and a sculptural style that are instantly recognizable,” explains Dr. H. Alexander Rich, executive director and chief curator. “Rodin’s deft ability to mold out of metal relatable human emotion and drama promises to speak across generations to visitors of all ages and backgrounds. Truly, in addition to the beauty of their craftsmanship, Rodin’s figures succeed in making us feel, too. We cannot wait to share Rodin’s mastery with our community in this incredible exhibition, the scope of which exceeds any sculptural show we have presented before.”

Displaying Auguste Rodin, 'Saint John Baptist Preaching,' Musée Rodin cast, unknown number and edition, 1925, Bronze, Rudier Foundry, Lent by Iris Cantor.jpg

“Rodin: Contemplation and Dreams / Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collections” will be on view at the Polk Museum of Art June 25 through October 30, 2022. This exhibition is the largest installation of sculptures in the Museum’s history, and gallery visitors will learn about the incredible talent of Rodin, his life-long pursuit of art, his sometimes controversial career, and his monumental contributions and influence on modern sculpture. Rodin: Contemplation and Dreams has beenorganized and made possible by the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation and is sponsored by Florida Southern College, Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation, Votum Foundation, Culture Builds Florida, LKLD Mayor’s Council for the Arts, and Visit Central Florida. For more information, visit Additional exhibition programming and educational opportunities can be found at

Displaying Auguste Rodin, ‘Head of Shade with Two Hands,’ modeled ca. 1910, Cast 2 of an unknown edition, Bronze, Alexis Rudier Foundry, Lent by the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation.jpg

About Auguste Rodin:

Auguste Rodin (1840–1917) began his career in the early 1860s, although his love of the arts began much earlier in life. As a young child, Rodin often visited museums to draw and admire Greek and Roman sculptures, giving him an appreciation for the history, myths, stories depicted in the works, and timeless methods employed by ancient sculptures. During this same time, new movements and ideas were taking hold of the art world, including Realism and Impressionism. Immersed in the cultural shift towards more humanistic themes, Rodin approached the ancient technique of bronze sculpture through a modern lens. The result is sculptures that depict an astonishingly naturalistic sensibility, capturing human emotion and effortless movement.

Although Rodin would go on to be celebrated as the greatest sculptor of the 19th century, his career was not without challenges. His new approach to sculpture was rejected by galleries and the Salon, both of which still sought out more traditional, idealized works. Nonetheless, Rodin would persist, creating iconic works including his masterwork “The Gates of Hell,” as well as “Mask of the Man with the Broken Nose,” and “The Three Shades.” By the turn-of-the-20th-century, Rodin had altered the way traditional sculpture was perceived, setting the stage for modern sculptors to come. 

About the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College

The Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College is a not-for-profit, academic and community museum that seeks to enhance lives through inspirational and engaging art experiences for all. It is the largest and only nationally accredited visual arts organization in Polk County and the only Smithsonian Affiliate art museum in Central Florida. The Museum is currently embarking on a $6 million expansion and renovation project, adding an additional 10,000 sq. ft. of education and exhibition space, including six new galleries, as well as multi-functional classroom and event spaces. The expansion and renovation is expected to begin in 2023, with project completion in Spring 2024. The Museum’s hours are Tuesdays–Saturdays 10 am to 4 pm, Sunday 1 pm to 5 pm, and closed Mondays and major holidays. The facility is handicap accessible and special needs assistance is available. Admission is free, thanks to our Strategic Partner, the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation.

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