"The Thinker" personifies Dante, the Italian poet, its powerful anatomy expresses such an intense inner concentration that the work has become the universal symbol of human thought.
This world famous work is undoubtedly one of the crowning glories of Rodin's art. It was not created as an isolated figure but as part of the monument known as The Gates of Hell which the State ordered from Rodin in 1880 for the future Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, a work which was only cast in bronze after his death.The Thinker dominates The Gates of Hell where he personifies Dante, the Italian poet and author of the Divine Comedy, which The Gates of Hell partially illustrates. However, Rodin soon gave a more general meaning to the work by exhibiting it on its own and by making it in a range of sizes, up to the monumental. The influence of Italian Renaissance sculpture, particularly that of Michelangelo, is obvious in this figure which also owes something to certain 19th century masterpieces such as Ugolin by Carpeaux, of which Rodin owned a copy. The statue's powerful anatomy reflects such an intense inner concentration that the work has become a universal symbol of human thought.