The French sculptor Auguste Rodin’s statue commonly called The Thinker (Le penseur) is one of the best-known pieces of art in the world.
Yet when Rodin (1840-1917) first cast a small plaster version in 1880, he meant it as a depiction of the Italian poet Dante Alighieri (circa 1265-1321) pondering his great allegorical epic The Divine Comedy in front of the Gates of Hell.
In fact, Rodin named the sculpture The Poet.
It was an obscure critic, unfamiliar with Dante, who misnamed the masterpiece with the title we use today, The Thinker.
Rodin’s statue is naked because the sculptor wanted a heroic classical figure to represent Thought as Poetry.