Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Poet, The Thinker

I turned 21 in 1993 and had come to the conclusion that I truly desired to find the right woman, get married, and live happily ever after.  It was more of a feeling than anything else, but it all just made sense.  I can remember as I made my determination, my thoughts churned between seeing a beautiful face every day, feeling loved, and knowing she was the perfect woman for me.  Go figure, someone at a fairly young age had a fairly decent grasp on the simplicity of sharing his young life with another.

Redundancy intended.

Nearly 20 years later, I've still not found "Miss Right" and am entering an age where I don't think I ever will.  Most of those with whom I am close will tell me it'll happen but honestly, I tend to think it won't.  Of course, reading this you may think I'm just feeling sorry for myself and I would have to beg to differ.  Reality isn't something easy to accept and believe me, it has taken many years of being alone, being rejected, and being ignored to finally conclude that maybe, just maybe, by some cruel standard set for my life, I will not be fortunate enough to find the right woman, settle down, and have that family I have truly desired for most of my adult life.

The Thinker (previously titled The Poet) by François-Auguste-René Rodin (1840-1917) depicts a hero in deep contemplation.  Some of you may not know that this figure actually ended up as the head piece in a large relief sculpture by Rodin called The Gates of Hell which was based upon the Inferno chapter of the epic poem titled The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.  Originally commissioned and designed to be the portal entrance into a new museum, the incredibly detailed and pieced-together work told the story of heaven and hell clashing together while Dante (the most popular theory for the figure) sat above the scene meditating on all that befell before him.  In 1902, Rodin created the first cast for The Thinker which is now one of the most popular sculptures around the world, typically used to illustrate philosophy, and was later included in the completed sculpture two years after Rodin died.

Rodin is known for his striking work and ability to create art that evokes incredible emotion.  This piece is no exception.  What is most intriguing to me is how the emotion of the piece reminds me of me.  I'm certainly no hero which the sculpture implies, but I know that feeling of needing a genuine moment to reflect upon life in a meaningful way; of being overwhelmed by reality and what's around me.  Clearly, this figure is of age and was depicted in the nude to indicate his intelligence and as reverence for Michelangelo and poetry.  And with age comes wisdom.

Fortunately, the same bodes well with me and as each year passes, my wisdom grows and my yesteryears of losing control, flying off the handle, or jumping to conclusions have lessened significantly.  You will have to forgive me if it seems I'm rambling.  With a painting, I can intricately express how every detail influences me.  With this statue, however, I'm left with a singular object devoid of interference or interaction with anything other than the nondescript perch where he sits.  He is emboldened by one expression and a plethora of emotional implications and this is what inspires me to merely express without analyzing.  Well, no more so than I just have.

For you see, this one piece is so incredibly influential and well done, I'm left with my own thoughts of emotional struggle, contemplation, and meditation.  I don't feel the need to do anything rash, but rather I deeply respect what The Thinker represents and implies.  It has become an icon for who I am before I was even a twinkle in my daddy's eye.  And there, perched above life, stripped of everything by my own heart and soul, I sit in sober mediation looking to understand what befalls before me.  You may see a smile, hear a laugh, or watch me animate with my body, but somewhere deep inside, The Thinker is who I am ... constantly ... thinking.


  1. Hi there,
    I wonder if someone might help me where I must go to get permission to place 'the Thinker' on my upcoming novel - Credible 101

    1. Hi, Qawii. Since The Thinker is in Musée Rodin in Paris, France, any image you take of the sculpture would be perfectly okay to use as a book cover. If, however, you want to use someone else's photograph or painting, you'd need expressed permission from the artist (and likely a credit line inside the book) unless said photo or painting is labeled public domain. If public domain, no permission needed. Here's a site where you can begin your search: