The Gates of Hell (La Porte de l’Enfer) - Auguste Rodin: depicts a scene from “The Inferno”, the first section of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. It contains 180 figures. The figures range from 15 cm high up to more than one metre. Several of the figures were also cast independently by Rodin:
- The Thinker (Le Penseur), also called The Poet, is located above the door panels. One interpretation suggests that it might represent Dante looking down to the characters in the Inferno. Another interpretation is that the Thinker is Rodin himself meditating about his composition. Others believe that the figure may be Adam, contemplating the destruction brought upon mankind because of his sin.
- The Kiss (Le Baiser) Rodin wanted to represent their initial joy as well as their final damnation.
- Ugolino and His Children (Ugolin et ses enfants) depicts Ugolino della Gherardesca, who according to the story, ate the corpses of his children after they died by starvation. (Dante, Inferno, Canto XXXIII)
- The Three Shades (Les trois Ombres) The figures originally pointed to the phrase “Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate” (“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here”) from Canto 3 of the Inferno.
- Paolo and Francesca is shown on the left door pane. Paolo tries to reach Francesca, who seems to slip away.
- Adam and Eve. Rodin asked the directorate for additional funds for the independent sculptures of Adam and Eve that were meant to frame The Gates of Hell. However, Rodin found he could not get Eve’s figure right. Consequently, several figures of Eve were made, none of which were used, and all of them were later sold.