During my recent exploration of Paris I came across a thought…
What was Rodin really thinking when he sculpted The Thinker? Who really knows? I certainly thought a lot when I was sitting on the bench in the sunny garden, contemplating his masterpiece.
As I thought about the meaning of life and the, often surprising, strength of the human form, both externally and mentally, I spotted something…
There was a woman, among many other tourists in the garden, taking a photograph of the sculpture with her tablet computer. Nothing unusual these days, I hear you say. However, this woman was taking her photograph with the protective film still over the screen, the one that comes with the tablet in the box. This wouldn’t necessarily be a problem, only for the fact that on it was printed all sorts of information about the tablet…”Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 1.4Ghz Quad Core CPU, WiFi Certified, Bluetooth Smart Ready…” and this information (however helpful) was surely getting in the way of her being able to see the photograph she was taking.
It made me wonder. What filters do we have that are getting in the way of us seeing things as they really are, or as the artist intended them to be?
I guess it might be that the busyness of our lives crowds our thoughts so much that we cannot see the art for the activities of life, that the hustle and bustle gets in the way. I sometimes see people in museums and galleries, so eager to get to see the next exhibit that they don’t take the time to stop and contemplate. Our lives are so rushed and there is so much to see, that sometimes we don’t actually see anything at all!
Maybe we have concerns and worries that cloud our perspective. Looking at Rodin’s Thinker, might remind us of the way in which our life’s troubles are weighing us down and causing us emotional distress.
Perhaps we have been working out at the gym (fat chance for me…quite literally! But people do…) and staring up at the beautifully toned and perfectly sculpted Thinker might make us think about the power in the human form, or conversely may give us a sense of inadequacy in our own flabby bits…?
The thing is though, whatever we might think is unlikely to be exactly what was on Rodin’s mind when he sculpted The Thinker because we all, in some way, have a clouded perspective. We all view life, and art, through a filter…