Auguste Rodin 1840 to 1917, Dyslexic Sculptor

November 22, 2017 by richard

Auguste Rodin

Sculptor  12 November 1840 – 17 November 1917

François Auguste René Rodin was a French sculptor known for his sculptures such as  The Thinker and The Kiss. 

As a child he experienced severe difficulties in school. He was extremely nearsighted as well as exhibiting traits of dyslexia. His father once said, ‘I have an idiot for a son,’ and an uncle claimed that he was ineducable. At age 14 he could barely read or write and struggled with mathematics,  but had started drawing at an early age. Although his artistic talent was clear, because of his academic difficulties, his family sent him to a school that trained craftsmen.

Statue of nude man

Age of Bronze 1877

At age 17, Rodin applied to attend the prestigious  École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, but his application was rejected. He tried again, but two subsequent applications were also turned down.

As a young man, Rodin earned his living working with more established artists and decorators, usually on publicly commissioned works such as memorials or architectural pieces. He began to achieve recognition for his work with The Age of Bronze, created in 1876.

Over the next decade, as he entered his 40s, he further established his distinctive artistic style with many acclaimed and sometimes controversial works. By 1900, he was a world-renowned artist.

Sculpturally, Rodin possessed a unique ability to model a complex, turbulent, deeply pocketed surface in clay. Many of his most notable sculptures were roundly criticized during his lifetime. They clashed with predominant figurative sculpture traditions, in which works were decorative, formulaic, or highly thematic. Rodin’s most original work departed from traditional themes of mythology and allegory, modeled the human body with realism, and celebrated individual character and physicality. Rodin was sensitive to the controversy surrounding his work, but refused to change his style. Successive works brought increasing favor from the government and the artistic community.

Many in the art establishment disliked the realism of the Age of Bronze and because it was life size said it was just a mould of a live model. In future Rodin ensured his sculpture was larger or smaller than life size.

Camille Claudel was both Rodin’s model, lover and collaborator though a powerful sculptor in her own right. After she broke up with Rodin her brother and mother had her sectioned where she remained for 30 years in a mental hospital though many doctors sought to prove her sane.

From the unexpected realism of his first major figure – inspired by his 1875 trip to Italy – to the unconventional memorials whose commissions he later sought, Rodin’s reputation grew, such that he became the preeminent French sculptor of his time. By 1900, he was a world-renowned artist. Wealthy private clients sought Rodin’s work after his World’s Fair exhibit, and he kept company with a variety of high-profile intellectuals and artists. He married his lifelong companion, Rose Beuret, in the last year of both their lives. His sculptures suffered a decline in popularity after his death in 1917, but within a few decades, his legacy solidified. Rodin remains one of the few sculptors widely known outside the visual arts community.

Nude man holding is hand out, as if explaining a point.

St John the Baptiste        The Thinker  1879-1889

Preaching 1878

2017 Teaching materials overview

November 20, 2017 by admin

We have produced resources examining
a) the representation of disabled people across time and culture.
b) artists who were themselves disabled.
c) with National Disability Arts Collection and Archive (NDACA) the history of the Disability Arts Movement, which has sought since 1970s to promote the work of disabled artists and to challenge the oppression disabled people continue to face.

Download it here

2017 Broadsheet

by admin

We have produced a 2017 broadsheet – download it in pdf or word formats.

A printed version is also available. Order copies from UKDHM


Friday 24th November London Metropolitan Archives

by richard

Friday 24th November


London Metropolitan Archives 40 Northampton Road   London EC1R 0HB

Tel: 020 7332 3851


An exciting programme of presentations and workshops will open up our understanding and perceptions of impairment, disability and the lived experience of people from the past. What are our sources and how do they get created? What do they tell us? What don’t they tell us? Could they be misleading us? Come and join the big debate.

Teas and coffees will be served. Please note there are no food catering facilities on-site. You are welcome to bring a picnic.

Taking Stock: The Third LMA Disability History Conference

24 November 11:00-15:30

London Metropolitan Archives 40 Northampton Road, London, EC1R 0HB




Geoff Pick Director London Metropolitan Archives

Impairment, Disability and Archives. Looking to the future.

Louise Bell First World War Diverse Histories Researcher The National Archives

“Maimed and not fit for manual labour?” Employment opportunities and prostheses for those disabled in the war

Stephanie Evelyn-Wright PHD Candidate University of Southampton

Grave Afflictions Stories of Disability from Skeletons


Sally Bevan Senior Archivist London Metropolitan Archives

Introducing the Heart n Soul’s Big 30 Project Collection


The Rt Hon. the Lord Blunkett

The importance of archives for uncovering and preserving the history of disability


Stephanie Evelyn-Wright PHD Candidate University of Southampton

Grave Afflictions Stories of Disability from Skeletons

Amy Oulton, Graphic Designer, Campaigner and Traveller

Amy is a wheelchair user who spent three months backpacking across Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Japan with her friend Steph. Find out what she experienced and discovered on this amazing journey


Workshops. Choose A or B:  

  1. Project Building. How can good heritage ideas get turned into an effective and engaging project which contributes to our histories
  2. The Ethical Dilemma Cafe. A chance to discuss some of the ethical concerns around creating collections, offering access and public engagement




Disability History, Bleeding Hearts and Parasite People’ a Distinguished Visitor Lecture with Mike Oliver, Thursday 29 November 2017

November 6, 2017 by richard

The lecture will be taking place on Wednesday 29 November 2017 in the Darwin Conference Suite at the University of Kent, Canterbury at 18.00.

There will also be a drinks reception in the Conference Suite at 17.30 with a buffet to follow on from the lecture. Please find attached your official invitation to attend this lecture, drinks reception and buffet.

The lecture will conclude with a Q&A session. If you would ask a question beforehand please email

Professor Mike Oliver is an academic, author and disability rights activist, having undertaken research in this area since the 1970s as one of the key figures in developing researchers’ and society’s perception of disability. He is Emeritus Professor of Disability Studies at the University of Greenwich with focus on advocating the social model of disability and the rights of people with impairments.

I would be grateful if you could RSVP to Klair Robinson, Corporate Events Office by phone: 01227 823098 or email: including any special dietary/mobility requirements you may have by Wednesday 22 November 2017.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any enquiries about this event.