The Eternal Spring of Augustus Rodin
The Eternal Spring also called Zephyr and Earth or Love and Psyche is probably one of the most emblematic representations of passionate love. This bronze derived from Adele's Torso, with a dark brown and green patina, was originally conceived as a group destined for the Gates of Hell, but it was never included, as was The Kiss. However, the work was exhibited at the 1898 Salon.
This sculpture depicting the passionate embrace of a naked couple has a powerful emotional and very possibly autobiographical dimension. Although married to Rose Beuret Mignon, Rodin met Camille Claudel in 1882 when Alfred Boucher, the latter's sculpture teacher, entrusted him with his students. He very quickly falls in love with the young woman. This work would thus echo the feelings of the most remarkable sculptor of the late 19th century.
Evoking 18th-century sculpture with its graceful movement, Rodin's composition is nevertheless distinguished from his predecessors by the eroticism of its composition. When Canova preferred to depict his characters somewhat aloofly, Rodin intertwined them.
The sculpture represents an erotic love that is multiplied tenfold by the sensuality of the arched body, stretched towards the lips of the male figure. The man, with his ascending curve, dominates the composition as does the female figure. The two lovers hold each other passionately.
L'Eternel Printemps was a great success and has been translated several times into bronze and marble. Rodin has also made some variations on it over the years. This version is the most common model and is used by the Barbedienne foundry, which acquired the publishing rights for the bronze version in 1898. This model was produced in four sizes for more than twenty years between 1898 and 1918.