Scholars Series: Auguste Rodin – Founder of Modern Sculpture with Jane Messenger

Thu 20 Apr 23, 6.30pm–7.30pm

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Past program

NGV International

Clemenger BBDO Auditorium (enter north entrance, via Arts Centre forecourt)
Ground Level

Hearing loops and accessible seating are available.

This event will be presented in person and livestreamed. Livestream registrations have now closed. If you have purchased a livestream ticket, cick on the link above and enter the password provided. In person tickets are still available online and at NGV. 

Why is Auguste Rodin regarded as one of the greatest sculptors of the modern era, and the founder of modern sculpture?

Edgar Degas famously asked Rodin why his sculpture of Walking man (L’Homme qui marche, moyen modèle) had no arms, to which Rodin replied: “Because a man walks on his feet.” In the simplicity of his answer, Rodin conveyed his interest lay in human gestures, the essence of movement, not the perfection of form.

As part of the NGV’s Scholars Series, curator, author and leading Rodin specialist Jane Messenger discusses the significance of this sculpture within the context of Rodin’s oeuvre and position in history.

Considered one of Rodin’s most important contributions to art history, his non-finito (unfinished) works such as Walking Man challenged conventional notions of sculpture because he dared to present the human form as incomplete. Walking Man introduced radical notions of sculptural truncation and assembly into the modern artistic canon. Rodin also believed in the indivisibility of mind and body, how form could express emotions and the essence of humanity.

Includes a welcome by NGV Curator of International Art, Laurie Benson, and an opportunity to view the sculpture on display in the Salon gallery on level 2 from 5.30–6.15pm.

Viewing Opportunity



Jane Messenger is a Sydney based curator and author. Prior to establishing Messenger Art Advisory, working with private and corporate clients, she was the Curator of European and North American Art for the Art Gallery of South Australia; a collection spanning the Renaissance to Contemporary Art. She was also an Affiliate Lecturer Art History, School of History and Politics, University of Adelaide. While at the Art Gallery of South Australia, Jane curated the exhibition Rodin: Genius of Form, positioning her as one of the leading Rodin specialists in Australia.

Scholars Series
Scholar Series is a stream of in-depth presentations by experts in art and art history that uncover the stories behind works from the NGV Collection. Find out more here.

Click here to book into all three Scholars Series events.

The NGV thanks David Bardas AO and his late wife Sandra Bardas OAM for their generous gift to the NGV Collection of Rodin’s Walking man (L’Homme qui marche, moyen modèle), conceived by Rodin in 1899–1900, and cast in 1964 by the Georges Rudier Foundry, Paris. Walking Man is the first sculpture in this style to enter the NGV Collection, building on the Gallery’s existing holdings of eight sculptures by the artist, and the only cast of Walking Man in Australia.

Auslan International Sculpture & Installation NGV International