|Rodin intended La Danaide
to be a panel in his massive work entitled The Gates of Hell,
a depiction of those that were condemned to eternal damnation.
In Greek mythology Danaide and her forty-nine sisters were married
to the fifty sons of Aegyptus. At the command of their father
Danaus the fifty daughters murdered their husbands on the first
night of their marriage. As punishment for this horrendous crime
they were compelled in The Realm of the Dead to fill a container
with water but the leading jug could never be filled. Rodin saw
the opportunity in this Greek myth of portraying utter exhaustion
in a female body, the complete collapse of Danaide from the endless
and futile effort of her assignment.
The expressiveness of the human body in all possible positions
was a life-long fascination for Rodin. He once more saw the beauty
of the female body when he chose to present Danaide in this crumpled
position. In his superb modeling of the figure he combined a
deep expressiveness with enchanting grace. As his original plan
for The Gates of Hell was transformed, he abandoned the original
intention to include the statue and, like Le Baiser also intended
for "The Gates," he exhibited it as a separate piece.
It is thought that Camille Claudel posed for this statue which
was created in 1885.