Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Auguste Rodin: The Burghers of Calais

Burghers of Calais

Burghers, alternative view

Though it is clearly impossible to fully express the power of a sculpture, or indeed any work of art, through a picture, I wanted to show a little bit of a work that is one of the most meaningful to me. The artist, Rodin, is best known for his “The Thinker” and “The Kiss”. For me though, “The Burghers of Calais” is his greatest work. It is essential to see this sculpture in person to comprehend its emotional power. Understanding the story portrayed lends the work even greater depth. The six men in the sculpture were leading citizens of their city, Calais. In 1347, during the Hundred Years War, Edward III besieged Calais. In an attempt to save their city and its citizens, the six burghers agreed to sacrifice their lives to become Edward’s hostages and take him the keys to the city.


At 6:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am doing a paper for my art appreciation class. I was at the rodin museum in Philadelphia and saw this sculpture in there. Where is this paticular photo taken, and is this the original? if so, what is the one in the phila. museum?

At 9:55 AM, Blogger erica s said...

The original "Burghers of Calais" sculpture remains to this day in Calais. There are other versions of the statue (whole and individual figures) at numerous locations, including the Philadelphia Rodin museum. For more information on the bronze casting that allows for these duplications, see
The statues in the pictures on my blog are from the Cantor Foundations and I believe the second is the original in Calais. Good luck with the paper.


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