Auguste Rodin, The Thinker, 1879-1887, bronze, 27½” high, Musée Rodin, Paris, Photo by Gertjan R., Creative Commons Attribution license via Wikimedia Commons.

Just a Second: Patina

Patina (noun)

A colored film on the surface of a metal sculpture. Sometimes the patina appears over time as a result of the oxidation process and other times artists create the color with a wash of chemicals.

Rodin developed his own techniques for creating a patina using light and dark greens on his bronze sculptures to give them a marbled effect.  The patina is an important element of Rodin’s sculpture because it accentuates the lively surface, as it does on his  Thinker, which, in turn, emphasizes the psychological unrest Rodin found in the modern world.

Click here to learn more about the restoration of the patina on a sculpture by Rodin at the Nasher Sculpture Center, in Dallas, TX.

Click here to learn more about Rodin’s working method on the website for the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.


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