Question: How long did Rodin work on The Gates of Hell, the larger piece of which The Thinker is a part?
Answer: 37 years! – The Gates of Hell is colossal with a height of 6m and a width of 4m. It consists of 180 individual figures.
Today is the 175th anniversary of the famous French sculptor Rodin’s birth. His best known work is perhaps The Thinker, and conjuring up that image made me think about… thinking!
Few schools in Britain teach their pupils how to think but in today’s world, where a whole library’s worth of information is available at the click of a mouse – most of it trying to sway our opinions, and a good deal of it actually false – the ability to use logic to make sense of it all is vital.
Logical thought is the great legacy of Western civilisation, handed down to us from the first philosophers in Classical Greece. In ancient times logic was one of the three subjects taught in the trivium (the equivalent of a modern syllabus), the other two being grammar and rhetoric. Sadly, only one of these is still taught as part of the modern school curriculum.
Even pre-school age children begin to think logically. Their developing minds learn through play and they love to classify objects into different categories – by colour for example, or by shape. As they get older and their vocabularies expand, they learn to classify words as well as objects. This is the beginning of abstract thought – a necessary part of a logical mind.
Around the age of thirteen (as I’m sure you’ve noticed!) a child’s brain suddenly changes and they start to ask for answers to questions of a different type – ‘Why is there evil in the world,’ ‘What was here before time began,’ or ‘Why are there starving people in some parts of the world?’ All the information gathered and stored during childhood is being sorted in the teenager’s brain, and new ideas are the product. An adolescent mind may well surprise you with some of its outpourings!
So, with verbal and non-verbal reasoning tests forming a part of the 11-plus exam, how can you equip your child with a logical mind? Well, here at Education Quizzes we have sections of our site devoted to both verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning which will help. You may also like to ask your child how they form their opinions when pondering life’s mysteries.
Do you have any questions about education? If you do, then the answers might be found on our Knowledge Bank page. We have dozens of articles, each one detailing information about one particular aspect of education and schooling. You’ll also find useful pieces full of advice for parents which will help you to raise a happy, and safe, child.
By the way, if you are interested in Rodin and his work, he’s just one of the many artists featured in our Art quizzes. Why not check them out?
I was lucky enough to go to the Rodin exhibition in Paris. I remember being bowled over by the sculptures. There’s one called “L’Enlevement” (the abduction) which is unbelievably brilliant because the very muscled man is carrying the woman on his shoulders and she is literally being carried away, her limbs flying. An amazing piece of work!
The idea of children growing in logic is so interesting. I found teaching at A Level particularly rewarding because the students began to grasp concepts about life and living through their drama.
It is important to teach logic I agree. You can do this with many kinds of problems that require logic to solve them. Also learning rudimentary computer programming can teach a kind of logic at least. I think that having it on the curriculum would be a good thing to do.