"The main point is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live. To be human before being an artist!" -Auguste Rodin
Most often, the big museums of the world receive heaps of praise from the press and from art-hungry tourists. But for me, the little collections of art delight my eye and capture my imagination.
While the Met or the Louvre or the Prado boast encyclopedic collections that seamlessly cover any major period or movement in art history, given a choice, I prefer museums with smaller yet carefully assembled collections.
In Paris, one of my favorite small museums is the Musée Rodin. Just a couple of blocks from the Invalides metro stop, the Musée Rodin with its tidy yet lush gardens and palatial building transports visitors into another time and place, removed from the honking horns and hustling people of the surrounding Parisian streets. It offers an artistic refuge in the heart of the frenetic city.
As an art historian, collections like those within the Musée Rodin are visually inspiring because they allow me to consider that artist's work in a comprehensive manner. I can trace the way in which Rodin sculpted hands or feet or noses as I move from The Thinker to The Kiss to The Three Shades. I can view his sketches alongside his bronzes. From idea on paper to life size marble, the Musée Rodin gives its viewers the unique opportunity to truly study one artist, to get to know his work in the most intimate way.
What is your favorite small museum?
Images borrowed from Viewpoints, FAQs, WeeklyWilson, Cancellieri