Camille Claudel | History and Women


 “A revolt against nature: a woman genius”…Octave Mirbeau
Camille Claudel
8 December 1864 – 19 October 1943

Camille Claudel was a French sculptor and artist. Her fascination for clay, stone, and dirt, began when she was a young child, and as she came of age, despite the protestations of her mother, her father supported her to study art. Around 1884, she started working with Auguste Rodin and before long became his lover and confidante. Obviously her family was outraged by the affair.

After 1905, she was afflicted by a mental illness. In the throes of her paranoia, she destroyed much of her work. Today, only 90 pieces exist. She disappeared for long periods of time, which alarmed her family. She came to believe that Rodin had stolen her all her ideas and he would soon kill her. As a result, she hid from the world, locking herself in her workshop to work. In 1913, her brother convinced her to voluntarily enter a psychiatric hospital where she had numerous outbursts. Despite her agitation, whenever engrossed in creating art, she was always…

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27 thoughts on “Camille Claudel | History and Women

  1. Good morning Sarah,

    The life of Camille Claudel has always fascinated me, especially her relationship with Rodin.
    God knows it’s hard enough today to make one’s way as a woman in the arts….back then it would have been a nightmare.
    Personally, I don’t think she was mad at all….but rather caught up in the madness of art/gender politics at that time.

    Thank you and have a lovely day filled with smiles:)x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good morning, dear Janet. I quite agree. There were too many women who were unnecessarily incarcerated in mental asylums and spent the remainder of their lives there. Have you ever read Sebastian Barry’s The Secret Scripture? I recommend it highly.

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  2. she was a fascinating woman and an amazing artist in her own right. i saw a film about her and rodin once and it was painfully sad. i think part of her ‘madness’ was due to the constraints she was under at that time and place in history.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. a fascinating artist, one who went too soon into the night…. sad so many suffered so many centuries due to illness of the mind(or not). Her work is staggeringly beautiful. Hoping life is treating you well. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, too soon. I agree that her work is beautiful. Thank heaven we have some of it. As I recommended to Janet, it’s well worth reading Sebastian Barry’s The Secret Scripture which is a novel about a woman who is locked up in the early part of the century.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. How sad, considering at a young age she knew what art meant to her and the love of creativity. It seems her father, didn’t take care to be sure she would be safe and secure with Rodin resulting in a destroyed life and destruction of her life’s work. She was incredibly talented – those remaining 90 pieces are treasures.

    Liked by 1 person

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