The theme of embracing lovers was of primary concern for the artist throughout his creative life. A variant of Le Baiser, the work recalls the story of Paolo and Francesca, Dante’s mythical paramours who were condemned to spend eternity locked in a maelstrom of passion. With graceful fluidity, the young man lifts the woman from her knees into a passionate kiss. Her arched body is enveloped into the vigorous twist of his, in a pose that not only celebrates the union of man and woman, but also of stasis and movement, surrender and passion. The couple is animated by the dazzling play of light over the undulations of the bronze and its rich brown patina, and the dynamic upward movement of the man.
Éternel Printemps's carnality marks a shift in Rodin's œuvre from classical, allegorical depictions of love, to more sensual, human representations. As evident in the present work, there is a marked increase in the eroticism of his art and a corresponding growth in the daring movement of the poses, possibly a reflection of the artist's studio practice which allowed models to move freely and independently. In the 1880s, Rodin stated that ‘there is nothing in Nature that has more character than the human body’, here felt in the earthly spontaneity of the figures. Indeed, it is this potent combination of physical lyricism and romanticism that defines the work, and which has made it particularly attractive to collectors ever since.
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