Illustrations for Charles Baudelaire’s 'Les Fleurs du Mal', 1887-88

Pen and brown ink, brown ink wash, on pages from a copy of the original edition of ‘Les Fleurs du Mal’ (Paris, Poulet-Malassis et de Broise, 1857)

This copy of the original edition of 1857 belonged to the book lover and publisher Paul Gallimard. The architect and art critic Frantz Jourdain used his influence to obtain the commission to illustrate it for Rodin. The brown leather binding was made by Henri Marius Michel. Represented in demi-relief on the front cover, in incised, mosaiced leather, is an ivory skull on a dark green thistle plant.

Rodin, whose fondness for poetry and Baudelaire is well known,worked on this project for barely four months, in late 1887 and early 1888. His line drawings, sometimes heavily shaded, with hatched backgrounds and five washes on Japan paper, heavy with ink and gouache, would subsequently be inserted into the pages. Specially designed for the book or inspired by earlier sketches made for The Gates of Hell, these drawings appeared on the frontispiece and occasionally invaded the poems. (via Musée Rodin)

Buon compleanno to Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, the Italian artist born on this day in 1475. Michelangelo and his artworks have been an inspiration to countless people, including the French sculptor Auguste Rodin, who traveled to Italy in 1876 to study the Renaissance artist’s works. In Rome, Rodin contemplated the great paintings in the Sistine Chapel, including “The Last Judgement,” whose impact is evident in Rodin’s monumental work “The Gates of Hell,” which stands at the Rodin Museum.

The Gates of Hell,” modeled 1880–1917; cast 1926–28, by Auguste Rodin

How do you show that you love someone? If you’re Auguste Rodin, you might make a sculpture of your hand with your lover’s hand. This sculpture is a simple expression of love, and may be a tribute Rodin made for Rose Beuret, his lifelong companion and eventual wife.

Two Hands,” modeled before 1909, cast 1925, by Auguste Rodin