The Institute for the Morphological Documentation of Sculpture was founded in December 2003 in order to create an organisational structure for the Rodin-Web's current research, documentation and publishing activities in the field of sculpture and open our project for participation by other institutions and experts.
The Rodin-Web is an independent academic initiative to create a global, online catalogue of sculptures by the French artist Auguste Rodin (1840-1914). By now, the Rodin-Web is the largest online platform dealing with life and art of this great sculptor.
Our morphological documentation program was initiated in November 2001, after the Toronto Rodin Symposium. This conference was based on a discussion outline supplied by Rodin-Web author Hans de Roos and dealt with the question "What is the Original?" The debate focussed on a collection of foundry plasters from the former Rudier Foundry, Paris.
While trying to establish an empirical basis for this discussion, the Rodin-Web team found out that the methods used in the museum field to document the shape of sculptures were mostly inaccurate and subjective. Moreover, the usual methods of measurement with rules and calipers are inappropriate to define the spatial qualities of plaster and metal casts. For this reason, the Rodin-Web has set out to explore and develop other, more accurate methods to capture the morphological qualities of sculptures.
Now that we have created and tested reliable methods for our documentation goals, we intend to broaden the basis of our projects and invite other institutions and independent sculpture experts to take part in our activities.