A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
This is a unique film of the father of modern sculpture, Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), working in his studio in Paris. What is particularly interesting is the close up of the artist’s process with marble.The footage was shot in the summer of 1915 by the French actor and dramatist Sacha Guitry for his patriotic World War I-era film, Ceux de Chez Nous, or “Those of Our Land.” There are four segments of film:
 Rodin walking up and down the steps of a monumental columned building, inspecting the structure;
 Rodin posing top-hatted in a garden;
 The sculptor coming out of the then derelict C18 Hôtel Biron which the artist used as his studio;
 Rodin sculpting in his studio.
The Film of Rodin Sculpting in His Studio, 1915
It appears he’s never looking where he’s hitting.
Stepping back, between striking.
he’s more seeing than looking. Since then,
there’s been some arguing,
as to whether he feels the gods inside the stone
and chips the flakes away until they’re missing,
until the gods reveal themselves, in this case
a man and woman kissing. Or maybe he’s chiseling
them inside the block, letting the chips fall as they may
in these few filmed seconds, near the turn of his century.
The skill of marble splintering his beard, lovers
repositioning. Notice how he swivels perfection’s turning.
To put them in the best right light. Half-in,
half-from-the-rock-emerging, lips barely touching.
Notice how he looks to whomever’s filming,
while all the time not stopping what he’s doing,
his beard catching everything that’s loosening.
As if he sees us kissing without looking.
— a poem by Gary Margolis
copyright 2015 by Gary Margolis
. The Kiss by Auguste Rodin