The Thinker


August Rodin (French, 1840–1917)
The Thinker, ca. 1880, cast ca. 1904
Bronze. Height: 6ft. 6in.
Signed: A Rodin; stamped: Alexis Ruddier / Fonder. Paris.
Gift of Alma de Bretteville Spreckels

Rodin’s Thinker is perhaps his best known monumental work, first conceived circa 1880–1881 as a depiction of poet Dante. The image evolved until it no longer represented Dante, but all poets or creators…. The work was designed to occupy the center of the tympanum of The Gates of Hell, which were intended to be a portal of a new Musée des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. The Thinker was designed as an independent figure almost from the time the Gates were composed, and was exhibited in Paris in 1889 at the Exposition Monet-Rodin at the Galerie Georges Petit.

The first large bronze (University of Louisville) was cast by A. A. Hebrard in 1904 for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in Saint Louis, but was rejected by the artist. Rodin turned principally to the founder Alexis Rudier for subsequent casts, and the Legion’s example is one of several commissioned during Rodin’s lifetime. Mrs. Spreckels purchased it through their mutual friend, Loie Fuller. The Thinker is one of the earliest acquisitions of the more than seventy Rodin sculptures that Mrs. Spreckels purchased and later donated to the Legion of Honor. [That Mrs. Speckels sounds like quite the collector… LOL  Ladyjustice]   Excerpts referenced from:;

Ladyjustice has always been fascinated by this sculpture… It is so simple…yet complex…and indeed thought provoking…  This writer has been accused of overthinking…and rightfully so… 


Wrinkles on the Brain” Each crevice in the brain is called a sulcus (pl. sulci) and each ridge between the crevices is called a gyrus. There are approximately 30 named sulci and gyri…which present a challenge to even the smartest medical student… So do you find each with a GPS? Do they have names like John and Jane Doe or Curly, Moe and Larry?  [THAT’S a good question for Dr. Akoury!]

Hmmmm…. Thinking and analysis can be fun…and not relegated to 80 year olds who incessantly do crossword puzzles for fear of losing their mental aptitude…

The following things come to mind when pondering “The Thinker” Sculpture:

  • “You must do the things you think you cannot do…. Eleanor Roosevelt

  •   Way to go, Eleanor! In other words… YOU MUST try it… Take a risk… for if you don’t you surely miss out on some wonderful things in life…. That is certain!
  • “Me thinks thou dost protest too much [Shakespeare]

  • One interpretation….  The more you try to talk your way out of it, the less people will believe you…   Does anyone remember Drew Peterson or Casey Anthony??
  • “I think…I love you… so what am I so afraid of….”

  • Song by David Cassidy probably conceived of on the Partridge family bus… Ahhh…remember that? Remember your first love??
  • “I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart for so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.”

  • A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh  Ahhh yes…Susan Murphy Milano appears in our dreams often…  I don’t think… I know!
  • “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another. “

  • Napoleon Hill   ‘Didn’t your Grandma say this too?
  • And Ladyjustice’s Favorite….… Waaaay Cool!
  • “Think” (About What You’re Tryin’ to do to me… ) by Aretha Franklin, “The Blues Brothers”


Wouldn’t” The Thinker” look so cool with a pair of Blues Brothers shades???   ‘Just think about it….

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