We visited the Place des Vosges on the border of the 3rd and 4th arrondissements of Paris last May and stopped by Maison de Victor Hugo — the House of Victor Hugo — while we were there. Victor Hugo lived in an apartment in the house located on the southeast corner of Place des Vosges for 16 years (1832 to 1848). One of the rooms looks like one that he decorated for his mistress on the island of Guernsey where they lived (in separate houses) for 15 years later in their lives (1855 to 1870). Another was furnished to look like the bedroom (in another house in the 16th arrondissement) where he died in 1885. A couple of the rooms are filled with Hugo memorabilia including several paintings and sculptures of the famous writer and statesman. One of the sculptures I photographed that day was a bust of Hugo created by Auguste Rodin. It will be my entry this week to Laura and Leanne’s Monochrome Madness Challenge over on Leanne’s website.
One day in 1883 — two years before his death — Hugo was asked to pose for a sculpture by Rodin. He told the sculptor that he could come to the house but he was too ill to pose for him. He could make his drawings, however, when Hugo was eating or sleeping! So Rodin visited Hugo off and on over a four month period and would make some quick drawings and then rush to the balcony to produce a quick clay model of his subject. The final results were this bust and a few others that are very similar.
Rodin was commissioned to produce another sculpture of Hugo a few years after Hugo’s death. We saw this work of art at the Musée Rodin across the street from Les Invalides when we toured these places in the seventh arrondissement one day. Hugo’s head in this sculpture looks a lot like the one he finished in 1883!