RODIN, Auguste
(b. 1840, Paris, d. 1917, Meudon)

The Burghers of Calais

Bronze, 231 x 245 x 200 cm
Place de l'Hôtel-de-Ville, Calais

One of Rodin's most striking works is The Burghers of Calais which was commissioned in 1884, the plaster model exhibited in 1889, and the bronze monument unveiled in 1895. It commemorates the burghers of the town who sacrificed themselves to King Edward III in 1347 in order to raise the siege of the town. The movements of the figures vividly express their sense of despair at their imminent death.

Some of the studies for the monument are more Expressionist than the final monument itself. Rodin worked on the figures separately, making them nude first, then clothed. He linked them to others or mutilated them to make them even more expressive.