He attended the school in the Latin quarter, known as the Petite École, where his teacher, Horace Lecocq de Boisabaudran, instructs him in learning the decorative arts, which he will put into practice in his drawing sessions in the antique rooms of the Louvre. When he failed the entrance exam to the École de Beaux-Arts three consecutive years, he moved away from academic training to explore the technique of sculpture freely. His first preserved work dates from 1860, a bust of his father, Jean-Baptiste Rodin.
In 1864 he met Rose Beuret, mother of his only son. At this time he worked in the studio of his teacher and friend Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse. The following year, “El Hombre con la Nariz Rota” (The Man with the Broken Nose) was rejected at the Paris Salon, although it received numerous critical accolades. In 1873, after being exempted from going to the front during the Franco-Prussian war due to short-sightedness, he participates for the first time in an international exhibition in London. He travels to Italy, where he becomes acquainted with the sculpture of Michelangelo and Donatello. After the controversial presentation of “La Edad de Bronce” (The Bronze Age) (1977) at the Cercle Artistique et Littéraire in Brussels, he was accused of having made it from a cast of the natural, the French state buys the piece in 1880, at which time the rise of the artist begins.
In 1883 he met Camille Claudel, who became his disciple and with whom he began a relationship that would last more than ten years. In 1885 he was commissioned to create a memorial to the siege of Calais, which would become the famous Monument to the bourgeois of Calais. In 1890 he completed the final design for The Gates of Hell, a bronze work for the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris that mainly depicted scenes from the Inferno of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Each of the sculptural models he made for this great work The Kiss, Ugolino, The Thinker or Adam and Eve, among others, were acclaimed as independent works.
Rodin also produced numerous portraits, which reveal the emotional state of the subjects, including full-length portraits of the French writers Honoré de Balzac and Victor Hugo, as well as the painter Jules Bastien-Lepage. He also created busts of the French artists Carrier-Belleuse and Puvis de Chavannes. The artist bequeathed his work and collections to the French State. In 1919, two years after his death, the Museé Rodin in Paris opened its doors to the public.