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Mapplethorpe - Rodin

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Why you will love it?

Mapplethorpe « paints » with light while Rodin uses it to turn stone into life. Rodin explores the body and its movement while Mapplethorpe immortalizes it with photography. Two men, two different continents and two different centuries are combined in this exhibition in a dialogue between two great artists that have a lot in common. Enjoy! Parisianist

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About this place

79 rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris
Line 13 - Varennes Line 8/13 - Invalides
Line C - Invalides

Wednesday : 10:00 am - 17:45 pm
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Monday : Closed Tuesday : 10:00 am - 17:45 pm Wednesday : 10:00 am - 17:45 pm Thursday : 10:00 am - 17:45 pm Friday : 10:00 am - 20:45 pm Saturday : 10:00 am - 17:45 pm Sunday : 10:00 am - 17:45 pm

Our Insiders' Article


Mapplethorpe is one of the great American photographers that has always thought of himself as a sculptor of bodies through the lens: “I would have been a sculptor, but photography is a different way to sculpt”. With his provocative pictures, Mapplethorpe gave new hope in the very repressed 1970’s US gay community. He is inspired by sexuality and has many lovers. Mapplethorpe likes men, Rodin likes women, the latter also having lived many sexual adventures. The mirror reflects two artists separated by time, but very close in their art


Sculpture within photography, reality in what is immaterial, the two artists transpose their aspirations in each of their creations. The fingers of 19th century French sculptor Rodin caress the marble and turn a bloc of solid stone into a living being. The genius of the father of modern sculpture give a soul to each statue and the slightest detail counts as it can be the start of a movement, a muscle contraction or a wink of an eye, therefore bringing an emotion. In his photographs, Mapplethorpe reveals a similar process.

Souls & Bodies

In this exhibition, all the sculptures and photographs have a link with each other, and create an interesting interaction. Visitors are surprised by the similarity of the movements and the opinions of the two artists. The bodies are explored with similar angles and expressions such as choc, ecstasy or surprise are found on both the sculptures and the pictures. These comparisons are easily recognizable thanks to the layout of the exhibition. In a black and white hall decor, both photographs and sculptures are laid next to each other for a better understanding of the interactions.


Both artists have had a countless number of lovers and have therefore transformed the body into art. A piece of marble or a sheet of white paper suddenly gives birth to flesh, movement and emotion. Sexual desires are transcribed in Rodin’s sculptures and Mapplethorpe’s photographs. There were no taboos for these two men, and the human body is depicted in its most sexual form all through the exhibition.


The particularity of this exhibition, and what makes it so exceptional, is the ambition to gather and blend two artists, two aspirations and even two elements into one. Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) and Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) have never met, yet their art is in many ways very similar. The exhibition is recommended for those who wish to explore the human body in an artistic way, but is not suitable for young children.

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