"The Thinker" (Le Penseur), Auguste Rodin

“J’ai accompli de délicieux voyages embarqué sur un mot.”

“Just a single word has launched for me many wonderful adventures.”

–Honoré de Balzac

During the extent of my study abroad in France I was driven by an uncontrollable urge to discover. For four weeks my eyes, which had long become jaded from a repetitive lifestyle as a student in a small town, were glued to the wonders that seemed to spontaneously spring from the foreign drama that surrounded me. I was finally an explorer again: an active and attentive member of a tangible world. From within myself sprouted a new identity, one that broke personal boundaries, crossed borders, and traveled through history.  I had even managed to end up at the gates of hell. Quite literally.

"The Gates of Hell," Auguste Rodin

It was during a study abroad trip to Paris with the Art Department in 2008 that I had first set foot in the gardens of the Rodin Museum (musée Rodin). Enchanted by the stately blooms of the rose bushes and the massive, breathtaking sculptures, I developed an immediate admiration for the place, and vowed to return one day. On the final day of my recent study abroad trip I was able to return, and was just as awed by them as I had been two years before. As I walked through the maze of sculptures, I was overcome by a bliss that one can not help but feel when one is completely self-aware. As I came to stand in front of Caryatid, the woman who bears on her shoulder the weight of a stone, the very matter from which she was carved, I realized that, while my travels had allowed me to escape reality, I had also become reintroduced to it.

–Madeline Hunter ’11

"Caryatid Carrying a Stone," Auguste Rodin


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