Commissioned to honor one of France's greatest novelists, Rodin spent seven years preparing for Monument to Balzac, studying the writer’s life and work, posing models who resembled him, and ordering clothes to his measurements. Ultimately, though, Rodin’s aim was less to create a physical likeness of Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850) than to communicate an idea or spirit of the man and a sense of his creative vitality: "I think of his intense labor, of the difficulty of his life, of his incessant battles, and of his great courage. I would express all that," he said. Several studies for the work are nudes, but Rodin finally clothed the figure in a robe inspired by the dressing gown that Balzac often wore when writing.
Gallery label from 2007.