Modeled in clay 1880-1917; cast in bronze 1926-28
In 1880 Rodin was commissioned to create a set of bronze door for a new museum in Paris. Inspired by The Divine Comedy, written by Dante Alghieri (Italian, c. 1265-1321), Rodin planned to decorate the doors with characters that Dante met on his fictional journey through hell. The sculptor eventually discarded the idea of a strict narrative and instead created a weightless, chaotic world filled with more than 200 figures in the throes of pain and despair. Although the planned museum never came to fruition, Rodin worked on the sculpture for nearly thirty-five years, periodically adding, removing, or modifying elements on it.