Camille Claudel, 1864-1943

Camille Claudel, 1864-1943

Line Separator plain .jpg

Camille Claudel,  L’Âge Mûr (The Mature Age)

Claudel joined Rodin’s studio as an assistant in 1884. Some time later they became lovers — an affair that lasted until Rodin decided to move to Meudon and live with his long-term mistress (and mother of his son) Rose Beuret. The Mature Age can be read as an expression of Claudel’s futile effort to hold onto her lover, who is being led away by the older and uglier Beuret. Maturity, in Claudel’s rendering, represents a sad dying-down of emotion and a passive trudge toward death.

Claudel continued to work with Rodin, even after she had sculpted The Mature Age, which was shown in its plaster-cast form in 1899. In fact, it was Rodin himself who secured the commission for her from the state Director of Arts. In the film Camille Claudel (1989), Rodin expresses distress and anger that Claudel would exposed their failed relationship to public scrutiny in The Mature Age. 

CLAUDEL 1.jpg
Line Separator plain .jpg
Camille Claudel L'âge mûr 2.jpg
Line Separator plain .jpg
claudel 3A.jpg

There are at least two levels of narrative here: the specific story of Claudel's rejection by Rodin, and the larger message of a man's abandonment of a woman who adores him.

According to one interpretation, the aged figure leading the man away represents old age and death.

Line Separator plain .jpg

The first version of L’Âge Mûr, plaster, 1894-1895

d2c33394dc4b113f77c4ca2d0a5a66e23a49c2d7.jpg
Line Separator plain .jpg

Claudel's The Waltz, created at the time of her first romantic encounters with Rodin:

(Click the image for a lightbox view)

Line Separator plain .jpg