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08 December 2019 10:42

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Google Google Doodle on Sunday celebrates the French sculptor Camille Claudel, who, as a woman in nineteenth-century France, had to overcome gender restrictions to study art and create in a world of art dominated by men. A talented artist in her own right, but many remember her best for her passionate but tumultuous relationship with the famous sculptor Auguste Rodin. Claudel showed interest in clay and moldings at an early age, and on the advice of an established French sculptor he moved to Paris when he was 17 to study art. However, the influential École des Beaux-Arts prohibited women from enrolling at that time, so he enrolled in the Académie Colarossi, one of the few art schools where women were allowed to study. To honor his achievement and art, Google dedicated his Doodle to Claudel on his 155th birthday.

Google Doodle celebrates Camille Claudel, French sculptor and muse of Rodin

Born in Fère-en-Tardenois, France, Claudel moved to the Montparnasse section of Paris in 1881 at the behest of Alfred Boucher. Claudel studied with Boucher for three years before Rodin, the sculptor who created The Thinker, was asked to take charge of his instructions. Working as Rodin's assistant, Claudel soon became his muse, serving as his model, lover and confidant. Claudel was strongly influenced by Rodin's technique, especially the importance of capturing profiles and facial expressions. During their 7-year relationship, the two also had a strong mutual influence. Claune's 1887 Jeune Fille à la Gerbe was a precursor to Galatea de Rodin, who represents the same girl in the same pose. But she fought for the recognition of his, and after her adventure ended, Claudel fell into a mental illness. She became obsessed with Rodin, accusing him of stealing her ideas and conspiring to be killed. She destroyed much of her work and spent the last 30 years of her life in a mental institution and never again sculpted. Claudel received few visits during his three decades in the institution, and after his death in 1943 at the age of 78, he was buried in a communal grave in the asylum. Claudel was largely ignored by the artistic community, but has gained recognition in recent years. Much of his work is exhibited in the Musée Camille Claudel in Nogent-sur-Seine, approximately one hour outside of Paris. The Doodle was designed by Paris-based artists Ichinori, who say Claudel's theme was personally meaningful to them. "Camille Claudel is a unique artist of her time, deeply involved in the creation and constantly trying to open new doors," they told Google. "His life was made of poetry, hard work, freedom, drama and pure creation."