Thank you to Joy of Museums for this photograph and commentary about Young Mother in the Grotto by Rodin.
Auguste Rodin modelled young “Mother in the Grotto” in 1885, and the plaster sculpture was exhibited under the title “Woman and Love”. Several versions in bronze and marble were made during Rodin’s lifetime. The woman and child theme was evident in Rodin’s early body of work during the mid-1880s.
This sculpture represents maternal love in a mythological theme; the baby and the young woman was both sentimental and spiritual. In the later periods of his career, the subject of maternal love is much less prevalent in Rodin’s work as compared to the theme of love between man and woman.
The woman, crouching in a grotto and shielding her child from the elements, embodies maternal love and protection. The contrasting textures of the smooth figures against the rough grotto walls highlight the way that human forms can magically emerge from the stone, during the masters’ sculpturing process, as Rodin learnt from studying Michelangelo’s work.