Give them 5 months to build, 5 months to texture, 3896 prims and you’ll get a Door that doesn’t open in Second Life

The Gates of Hell (moderate)

It sits on the rocky edge of an island overlooking the ocean with a few scrub trees and bushes for company and a very small plackard announcing its name and creators.  I suppose in one sense that this is not a door we’d want spotlighted on the grid.  I mean do we really want to face The Gates of Hell everytime we go shopping for the latest fashions or dancing to our favourite singer?

Let me begin at the beginning, with some background.  Auguste Rodin↑ was a French artist generally considered the earliest of the “modern sculptors”.  Even if you don’t know his name you would be familiar with some of his most famous works including The Kiss↑ and The Thinker↑.  Many of you will know the work he laboured on for much of the last 37 years of his life La Porte de L’Enfer↑ which depicts a scene from Dante’s Inferno↑.   The size and complexity of the piece is impressive : It stands at 6 m high, 4 m wide and 1 m deep (19.69’H × 13.12’W × 3.29’D) and contains 180 figures. The figures range from 15 cm (6 inches) high up to more than one meter.

The Gates of Hell (moderate)

Rodin cast some of the figures as larger, independent works including the aforementioned “The Kiss” (which he decided not to include on the door), “The Thinker”, and “The Three Shades” which figure prominently on the top of the sculpture.  It’s a monumental work and both the plaster and bronze cast versions can be seen in museums around the world.  This video↑ has more detailed information on Rodin’s project and its development.

This brings us to Second Life and a pair of artists who must have either obsessive natures or a superhuman ability to perservere on what one artist friend remarked is obviously a “labour of love”. Freeloops Zanzibar↑ has one of those profiles bizarre enough to be a joke but then you wonder if parts of it might be true.  The artist who spent 5 months creating their version of Rodin’s masterpiece might be a 74 year old Frenchman in the physical world, retired with 8 children and 5 divorces in his background.  Of course it might also be a woman with a truly unique sense of humour. :)

The Gates of Hell (moderate)

According to the words of this artist, on a self made video↑ of the project, it took 5 months to build the piece (note that the total prim count has changed since the description on the video was written).  A combination  of prims and sculpties this piece replicates the design and the poses of the original – but not the detailed shapes of the figures.  I suspect that would have taken a great portion of the time Rodin spent and if he’s really 74 then that probably would not be an option.

Once Freeloops had assembled the 3,896 prims that compose this “door” Loda Denfu↑ then spent 5 months applying the textures.  I’m not sure I learned anymore about Loda from that profile than I think I learned from Freeloops’ but one thing I can tell you – both must have enormous reserves of patience.  The result of all of their effort is stunning and mesmerizing.  If you don’t know how to use your camera to zoom in and inspect objects at a detailed level then please learn.  You will have an opportunity to exercise that skill with wonder and joy.

The Gates of Hell (moderate)

The Gates of Hell are available to view on The Land of Glory↑ sim which is also home to La Citta’ Perduta.   This Lost City is a build I visited last year and loved and the fact that they are willing to provide a home to a prim monster like this just makes me even more fond of the place.   You must go see this build – admire it for the education you’ll receive about Rodin and his obsession, for the dedication and artistry required to accomplish what they have and because, damn it, we can.

I visited the first time with Bryn Oh↑ and Claudia222 Jewell↑ (yeah I’m name dropping).  Bryn pointed out that, since this is Second Life, we should be able to open the doors and enter.  Perhaps Freeloops and Loda are working on that for Phase Two?

The Gates of Hell (moderate)
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  1. I fear how many weeks I’d spend in the shop having my ass repaired if I let that door hit me on the way out of it.


  1. “… this horse is a horse”, Guernica in Second Life « Honour's Post Menopausal View (of Second Life)

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