The sculptors Auguste Rodin, Constantin Meunier and George Minne were the pioneers of a genuine sculptural revolution that was to lay the foundations of modern sculpture. Paradoxically enough, this revolution was inspired by the past, and specifically the Middle Ages.
At the end of the nineteenth century, artists began to reject classical, academic art and sculpture, which had been the norm for a century. They increasingly began exploring their own, very personal formal language. This trend later turned out to be the first step in the direction of modern sculpture. Auguste Rodin, Constantin Meunier and Georges Minne were among the pioneers of this revolution.
The medieval period was a major source of inspiration in this development. The three artists rediscovered the artistic heritage of that period and integrated it into their new vision of sculpture. They each did this in their own, personal way. For example, Meunier was particularly inspired by the religious iconography of the Middle Ages. Minne was also inspired by mediaeval faith, but translated it into works that primarily focus on mystical emotion. We know that Rodin found a freedom of expression in medieval art that he had not encountered elsewhere.
Je retrouve dans le gothique une partie des choses que j'applique AUGUSTE RODIN
At M, several masterpieces by these artists are being juxtaposed with medieval statues in order to reveal the remarkable and sometimes unexpected parallels between the two traditions.
Besides the visual language, mediaeval themes such as mourning, loss and separation also inspired the three sculptors. The titles of their works alone attest to this fact: “Sorrow” by Constantin Meunier, “Grieving Mother with Two Children” by George Minne or the “Martyr” by Auguste Rodin. This led to our decision to collaborate with a number of poets. Specially for this exhibition, they composed poems inspired by the sculptures. You can listen to these poems via the audio guide.
To limit the spread of the coronavirus we currently do not provide paper folders. As an alternative, you can find all information on this page, with the availability to download and print it at home. Explanatory texts are also provided on the walls in the museum halls and audio guides continue to be available and are disinfected between each use.