The Prodigal Son

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The Prodigal Son, with its many versions and adaptations, is an example of Rodin's reuse and adaptation of favourite themes and compositions. It is ultimately derived from a figure Rodin used in a group of 'Ugolino' - the head and torso are identical. Rodin then gave the figure different limbs and combined it with a fleeing female figure for the group called 'Fugit Amor' (Love Flees) on the 'Gates of Hell' bronze portal and doors for the new Museum of Decorative Arts, Paris, which he was asked to design in 1880. Finally in 1894 it was first exhibited as a single free-standing figure, with the title 'The Child of the Century'. The figure is highly characteristic of Rodin's search for dramatic expression in 1880s. Rodin described his work: 'I emphasised the protrusion of the muscles to express distress… I exaggerated the tendons that mark the fervour of the prayer'. The title of 'The Prodigal Son' is from the biblical parable of the son who, having spent all his money, returns to his father and throws himself at his feet, begging for forgiveness. Other titles it has been given include 'The Prayer of the Abandoned Child' and even 'The Dying Warrior'.   Credit Line:Given to the Victoria and Albert Museum by Rodin in 1914   This object is part of "Scan The World". Scan the World is a non-profit initiative introduced by MyMiniFactory, through which we are creating a digital archive of fully 3D printable sculptures, artworks and landmarks from across the globe for the public to access for free. Scan the World is an open source, community effort, if you have interesting items around you and would like to contribute, email [email protected] to find out how you can help.  Courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design, housing over 2.3 million objects that span over 5,000 years of human creativity.


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