Dancing with Picasso and Rodin

This summer, emblematic Parisian museums gave themselves the word: Rodin and Picasso have been put on a pedestral in the museum Rodin as well as in the Garnier Opera. Several works of both artists are being exposed, all having the same theme: dance. ArtLuxury went to admire these masterpieces and takes you to meet these painters who managed to give life to motionless statues and paintings.

Even if these exhibitions have similar names: ” Rodin and the dance ” and ” Picasso and the dance “, they are far from being alike. The artists explore the theme of dance from almost opposite manners. One tries to capture the movement on an immobile support while the other one participates in the creation of decorations and costumes for ballet performances. Let yourself be guided in this atmosphere of bliss and euphoria, discovering the masterpieces of these emblematic artists.

Everything started in the Rodin museum, it is at the heart of the seventh district that we can admire the famous Thinker of the sculptor. The talent of the artist does not stop at this masterpiece, Rodin has also created numerous sculptures representing ” movements of dance “.


rodin exterieur

From 1890s, new experiences transformed the art of dance, far from codified entertainment it was before. Sensitive about those innovations, Rodin is interested in exceptional personalities, among whom Loïe Fuller and Hanako. One of the climax of these meetings is his encounter with Cambodian dancers in representation in Paris for the World Fair. At their departure, Rodin will say that ” they took the beauty of the world with them “. The complicity shared with these people brings Rodin to unite dance and sculpture. He is fascinated in all types of dances, from regional or oriental folk dances, cabaret dancers, to personalities of the contemporary dance.

What is fascinating in the masterpieces of Rodin, is his ease to represent movement. Gesture is neither smoothed, nor schematized, but melted, recomposed, every decomposition of the body is present, penciled, modelled there in itself before becoming movements. Rodin seized dance in his essence, as it appeared to him during shows, more at the peace, in his studio, a model taking the pose. The exhibition puts forward various Movements of dance, it redraws all the researches and experiments realized by Rodin. Expressing the life of bodies, translating their energy and the human effort which it demands, this is what the artist searched for.

collage rodin

Whereas Rodin studies the movements and the body as if it was almost a mathematical structure, Picasso has a completely different approach, he contributed to ballets.

We knew that Picasso had met his first wife, Olga, in the troop of the Russian ballets. But what we ignored, it is that he had created his first decorations and theatrical costumes for the same Russian ballets, in the 1915s, at the request of Jean Cocteau.

expo picasso

In this exhibition, we can discoverer many creations of Picasso around the universe of  ballet but also how it influenced the artist in his  works. For example, he was asked to create costumes for a Spanish ballet named “Tricorne” , with the music of Manuel de Falla. Pablo Picasso created typical Spanish costumes of Sévillanes with mantillas. Further in his life, we can observe how dance inspired him in his works, even in scenes of bullfight.

opéra garnier

From dancers of circus, erotic dancers to scenes of bacchanalia, everything seems to be a pretext to represent bodies in movement. The danced movements are omnipresent in the work of the artist, sometimes going as far as being present in his artistic process.

These two very different exhibitions show us how dance inspired these artists, colourful and in discoveries they knew how to make dance Paris during all summer!


To discover the mysteries of the Opéra Garnier, let yourself be guided by a historian who will tell you all the secrets of this marvelous place, click here for more information.