Auguste Rodin was born to a modest family in Paris on 18 November 1840. He was admitted the design school in 1854, and discovered painting the following year. Rejected three times by Paris’s École des Beaux-Arts, he went to work as a craftsman for decorators and scuptors. After travelling to Italy, where he discovered Donatello and Michelangelo, from 1864,Rodin began exhibiting his own works, gaining recognition from the public. He exhibited The Age of Bronze at the Paris Salon in 1877 , and his Saint John the Baptist in 1879. Rodin’s great passion was Dante, who inspired his Gates of Hell for Paris’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs, which he left unfinished after five years of work. His most important sculptures are his Thinker (1882), the Burghers of Calais, completed in 1895, the Kiss (1886) and Balzac (1893). After Canova, no other sculptor has exerted such a strong influence in Europe. Rodin legitimised the unfinished effect, through which he obtained delicate aesthetic effects; he transfmored the solidity of marble into soft flesh; and he understood how to draw the erotic out of stone with a refined realism. He died in 1917.