'Minerva', between 1905 and 1907
Carved and cast in marble and bronze
Accession Number WAG418
Rodin pays homage to the ancient Greek world by portraying Minerva, its patron of the arts and of Athens. In the mid 1890s Rodin produced a series of busts of classical goddesses inspired by the features of Mrs Russell, the Italian wife of an Australian Impressionist painter. Rodin considered her to be the most beautiful woman in France.
Most of the busts were carved in marble alone. But for James Smith he used two materials, marble and bronze, to play with the differing fall of light on them. Lively highlights reflect off the grimacing heads on the bronze helmet. In contrast the light is evenly absorbed on the marble face held in repose.