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Rodin's The Thinker returns to Stanford campus after a year abroad
The Thinker, Rodin's ruminative bronze, is back at Stanford after spending a year in Australia and Singapore as part of a traveling exhibition.
The 1-ton model of intellectual discipline, which formerly persevered rain or shine in front of Meyer Library, is now pondering in a new place: the south rotunda of the Cantor Center for Visual Arts, where it was installed Monday.
The sculpture's custodians give several explanations for the move. The main one is this: Should The Thinker be spirited away again for another tour, its absence won't leave a large, vacant pedestal in plain view, giving rise to a flood of calls from curious and concerned citizens.
Another reason for the move is that it brings the Farm's most famous sculpture together with other works from the Cantor Center's Rodin collection, which numbers more than 200 objects and ranks as one of the three largest such collections in the world. (Rodin's Burghers of Calais remain in Memorial Court.)
The French sculptor designed The Thinker between 1880 and 1881 for The Gates of Hell, a cast of which stands in Stanford's Rodin Sculpture Garden, on the south side of the Cantor Center. A small Thinker is embedded in that monumental work.
Rodin developed the larger and better-known version of the sculpture sometime between 1902 and 1904. Twenty-one casts are known to exist. The art collector B. Gerald Cantor gave Stanford one of them in 1988. (Officially, the university owns 5 percent of the sculpture; the Cantor Foundation owns 95 percent.)
A free symposium on Rodin is scheduled for Oct. 4-5 in Annenberg Auditorium.
The two-day event, "New Studies on Rodin," is being held to mark the publication of a 662-page catalog titled Rodin's Art: The Rodin Collection of the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University. A full schedule of speakers and their topics is available at www.stanford.edu/dept/ccva/rodinsymposium.html.
By John Sanford