“The Thinker” by the French artist Auguste Rodin is one of the most instantly recognizable statues in the world. It was first modeled in clay in 1888 and later cast in bronze in the early 1900s. Originally intended as a decorative element for a set of bronze doors, it is now featured in numerous museums and public squares.
“The Thinker” features a seated nude male, back hunched forward, resting his chin on the back of his right hand, and pensively staring off into the distance. It is attributed to the Impressionist style due to the expressiveness of his furrowed brows and body language. The most interesting aspect of “The Thinker” for me is that there is a certain suppressed strength in the composition of his body. Ancient Greek statues of Apollo or Perseus typically stand upright and thrust their chests out, glorying in their beauty and physical prowess.
Although “The Thinker’s” body is just as impressive, by hunching his back and leaning forward on his knees, he makes his physical form irrelevant compared to the importance of his intellectual activity.