Rodin devoted a great deal of his time working on the extremities of his models, hands in particular, and on their expressive power, being part of the body or treated separately, as a subject in itself. Isolated hands conceived most of the time in series, sketches, and sometimes true masterpieces as the Hand of God, 1902, The Cathedral, 1908, or The Secret, 1909.
The Cathedral is the putting together of two entwined right hands, shaping the void between them into an oval arch. The same holds for this delicate Study for The Secret, even though it was originally produced in a smaller dimension, with freely moving hands. Rodin’s hands find their deep expressiveness in the interplay of fingers, palms and wrists animating the space around them. As Rilke pointed out: ‘The role of air had always been extremely important ‘for him (Rilke, 1928). The power emanating from it, most characteristic of the sculptor’s genius, gives this simple study an outstanding value.
This proof is unsigned, as are the five plaster copies of The Secret kept in the Rodin Museum. Made from a piece mould, this model was most probably created by Auguste Rodin between 1910 and 1917.