Auguste Rodin (French, 18401917)
Marble; H. 29 in. (73.7 cm)
Gift of Edward D. Adams, 1908 (08.210)
Toward the end of his career, Rodin began to use giant hands in a series of original and idiosyncratic arrangements, with titles such as The Hand of God, The Hand of the Devil (1903), The Cathedral (1908), and The Secret (ca. 1910). The first of these represents divine creation expressed in terms of the sculptor's art: the rough stone is both primeval matter and the sculptor's medium; the smooth, white emerging forms held by the hand are the bodies of the first man and woman, while the great, life-giving hand itself is a symbol of the original Creator, and, perhaps quite literally, of the sculptor as well. The Hand of God was another of Rodin's works that has had wide appeal, and there are numerous versions of it, both in marble and in bronze. This marble was commissioned from Rodin in 1906 by one of the Metropolitan Museum's trustees.