A to Z Abroad: Rodin’s Treasures


Since 1919, the Rodin Museum has preserved and displayed the prized works of Auguste Rodin. Housed in Rodin’s former workshop, the museum harbors a collection of 6,600 sculptures, 8,000 drawings, 8,000 old photographs and 7,000 art objects.

Among the most famous of Rodin’s sculptures is The Kiss. I must have stood in front of this piece for far longer than what would be considered polite in a museum. There is something ethereal, soulful, and breathtakingly human about the emotional embrace depicted. I’ve seen images of this sculpture many times, but seeing it in person is something else entirely.  Rodin somehow made marble express what it feels like to be in love.

The Kiss at the Rodin Museum
Photo by: c.b.w. 2003

Interestingly, the museum displays several bronze sculptures outside in an elaborate garden of fountains, flowers, and manicured hedges. A lovely break from an enclosed space, the garden offers a breath of fresh air while viewing extraordinary works of art.

Sitting on a tall pillar is one of Rodin’s masterpieces, The Thinker. This sculpture has been recast and reproduced multiple times, but the piece on display in the garden is the original. I never expected to find such a famous work of art outside, but I suppose it makes sense as the garden is often a place of contemplation.

The Thinker at the Rodin Museum
Photo by: c.b.w. 2003

Throughout the gardens, bronze sculptures dot the landscape and adorn fountains and ponds. A day could easily be spent among the green and graceful lines of Rodin’s aesthetic.

Garden green at the Rodin Museum
Photo by: c.b.w. 2003

From one garden vantage point, the Eiffel Tower pokes through the skyline!

Garden view of the Eiffel Tower
Photo by: c.b.w. 2003

The Rodin Museum may be small, but it’s treasures are immeasurable. Art lovers and those who could never pass up an afternoon surrounded by beauty are sure to enjoy this Parisian haven.

– – –

This is my 500th post! Yay!

– – –

Part of the A to Z Challenge!


– – –

c.b.w. 2013

One Morning in Changchun


The sun is barely awake when people in Changchun, China welcome the day by gathering in Culture Square, (also known as Changchun Cultural Square).  The clock has barely struck seven o’clock, and this large city park is already bursting with life and color.

Soothing music plays from a corner near the park entrance, where a small group engages in the ancient practice of Tai Chi. Both physically demanding and soul-quieting, this martial art is a common sight across China. Wearing t-shirts and track pants, the group transitions from one form to the next in total unison.

Tai Chi in Culture Square, Changchun, China, c.b.w.

Across the grass, soccer teams occupy several fields where drills and games send black and white balls flying in all directions.  Several basketball courts flank the fields, all of which are filled with dueling players.  Up in the sky, dozens of brightly colored kites dart and spin.  Laughing children hold tightly to strings with the same enthusiasm as the adults behind them.

Kite Flying in Culture Square, Changchun, China, c.b.w.

Wide sidewalks hold a steady stream of walkers plugged into headphones or chatting away with a friend.  Some groups of walkers like to make things interesting by walking backwards! They never look back, always trusting their path and believing people will move out of the way.  Yet, a third group of walkers, hold their arms above their heads or straight out to the side.  Sometimes they take it step further by rotating each arm in small circular motions.  Either way, it’s best to get out of the way when you see one coming!

The backdrop to all of this activity is quite striking.  An enormous television screen broadcasts the morning news just loud enough to be heard without being obnoxious.  Bright flower gardens surround elegant stone sculptures, while the Sun Bird Monument towers high above everything.


Sun Bird Monument, Culture Square, Changchun, China, c.b.w

A large fountain sits near the center at the base of the Sun Bird Monument.  It’s here that I meet a man who spends his mornings practicing calligraphy on the sidewalk.  In his hand, he holds a long stick with a wet sponge attached to the end.  He dips the sponge in the fountain water and then “paints” graceful Chinese characters on the pavement.  His artwork remains visible for only a few minutes, but each is a masterpiece.

The Calligrapher-Poet, Culture Square, Changchun, China, c.b.w.

He calls himself a “calligrapher-poet” and passes on a bit of wisdom that has remained with me, even years later.  In a low voice tinged with kindness he tells me, “The foundation of writing is art.” Whether it be in reference to flowing strokes or storytelling, this man knows a beautiful secret and I am honored he shared it with me.

That wise calligrapher, with his curious and open-minded nature gave yet another gift.  He reached out to a perfect stranger and embraced me as a friend before he even knew my name.  The same can be said of a little girl on roller skates.  She came right up to me and smiled with her wishes for peace. I’ve never experienced a more beautiful morning.

All Smiles in Culture Square, Changchun, China, c.b.w.

– – –

c.b. 2012