Initially titled "The Poet," this sculpture was originally designed as part of a commission from the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. The goal was to create a monumental gateway that would serve as the entrance to the museum.
Drawing inspiration from Dante's epic work "The Divine Comedy," Rodin designed the grand gateway entitled "The Gates of Hell." Within this composition, each statue represented a key character from the poem. While The Thinker originally symbolized Dante himself, reflecting in front of the gates of hell, the final sculpture features a miniature version of the statue at the top of the gates, contemplating the fate of those below.
The sculpture bears witness to Rodin's genius and his aspiration to represent intellect and poetry through art.