The Three Shades was initially made of three independent figures. Later on, Rodin replaced one hand in the figures to fuse them together, in the same form as the smaller version that sits atop the Gates of Hell. In Dante’s Divine Comedy, the shades (i.e. the souls of the damned) stand at the entrance to Hell, pointing to an unequivocal inscription, “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here”. Rodin made several studies of Shades before finally deciding to assemble three identical figures that seem to be turning around the same point. He placed them on top of The Gates of Hell, from where they could gaze down at the spectator, then had them enlarged to create a monumental independent group in 1904.