Thinking is actually an art; it is a noble past time engaged by men and women of thoughts. Thinking is a great favourite habit of great minds, men of lofty dreams and ideals. Mind you – I did not say worrying, in that from the very surface of things, worrying and thinking may seem like one and the same, but you and I very well know deep down that there is a big difference. And sometimes too, there may just be a thin line separating the two concepts.
|'The thinker' by Auguste Rodin|
Great men, including great minds of the arts solve problems pertaining to their preoccupations and would-be issues of everyday life by thinking through issues. But worrying leads rather to an increased blood pressure tending to escalate the already bad situations. And this brings me to the issue and famous figure of ‘The Thinker’ – a universal image and symbol of a man in deep contemplative mood. I am referring to the work of the famous French sculptor, Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), who in his life time produced a great number of iconic images of which the most famous is ‘The Thinker’. He was highly noted and respected for the way he rendered human forms in whatever medium or style he chose to execute his works – clay, bronze, or stone, etc.
It is an established fact however that the habit of meditation which is a positive aspect of deep thought is the basis for all real knowledge. It is thinkers that brought about revolutions that have turned around societies for eternal good; it has been the one instrumentality - the positive act that led to the building of empires and civilisations. Great thoughts gave birth to the huge industrial developments, designs, and inventions we have seen, heard and read about throughout the ages.
But what about Rodin‘s ‘The Thinker’ – one of the world’s most recognised pieces of sculpture? I sometimes wonder if he is in a deep worry or contemplation. Is this man engaged in constructive, positive thought or a destructive one; is he worrying, is he a disturbed man? Sometimes I just wonder also, what could have occupied the mind of Auguste Rodin who is regarded as the progenitor of modern sculpture, as he set out to execute this highly acclaimed masterpiece of sculpture, this fantastic picture of reflection, and mood.
This artist was highly criticized during his time for not conforming to the styles of the period, but he rather stood his ground. He was not ‘obedient’ to the sculpture figure tradition of decorativeness, or conventions of allegory, mythology, etc. Could Rodin be using his masterpiece to expound and espouse the resounding import of deep positive thoughts and contemplation; could it be that he was in fact showing to the world what held sway in his own private and transient world, in subtle rebellion?
By Morgan Nwanguma