Detail shot of “Burghers of Calais” at the Rodin Museum. Photo by Erica Minutella.

Imagine taking poet William Butler Yeats by the hand.

“Come away, O human child! To the waters and the wild,” he beckons from across the years, as he leads you through the Meudon Gate and into the Garden of the Rodin Museum.

Like the stolen child in the poem, you’ll find yourself transported to a space cut off from time and urban noise. The sky blushes a little bluer, the light dances a little brighter, the Museum nestles snugly in the recently-restored throwback to its 1929 surroundings.

With free admission year-round, the reflecting pool and surrounding greenery provide casual strollers with a regenerative rest-stop from the surrounding tumult of traffic and trade in the Parkway. If a longshot view of the museum facade isn’t enough to take your breath away, a close-up of the pieces currently on display in the Garden will finish the job.

With a total of eight works on display outdoors, the Garden acts as a cauldron of catharsis, calling up echoes of human heroism and passion. Each piece is worth taking the time to study in detail, but linger over “The Burghers of Calais,” Rodin’s tribute to the six city leaders who marched towards certain execution in exchange for the safety of their citizens, and “The Gates of Hell,” a sculptural rendition of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Each strongly-delineated angle of human limbs, every furrow of clothing and muscle, whisper verses of suffering, supplication, and quiet, desperate strength.

Upon admission into the museum proper, don’t be fooled by the intimate size of the galleries. Each room traps visitors in worlds where humor, pathos, and romance are stripped of mythological proportions and measured by the accessible scale of the human heart. See pieces inspired by The Divine Comedy, as well as Rodin’s public monuments and a series honoring writer HonorĂ© de Balzac.

For the suggested donation of $8, take some time out of your day to introduce yourself to Auguste Rodin.

Visit the museum under cover of night and secure your tickets to The Young Friends Rodin Party: Gatsby in the Garden, a 1920s-themed celebration in honor of the museum renovations, Friday, September 28, 6:30 – 9 pm.

Dianne Koppisch-Hricko

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