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The Burghers Of Calais

Sculpture, 1880-th , 217×255 cm

Description of the artwork «The Burghers Of Calais»

A statue without a pedestal! Six scattered square shapes! This Roden crazy if he thinks that the city authorities agree to install it. When the members of the Council of the French city of Calais commissioned Auguste Rodin monument, they did not expect such a ridiculous outcome.

Ordering was simple: to create a monument in honor of the heroic deed committed by the inhabitants of Calais during the hundred years war. This story was a French student. English king Edward III after a long siege of the city suggested that exhausted the inhabitants to surrender. 6 but the most notable and respected citizens must arrive at the camp of the English king to give the keys to the city and die. Rodin decided: 6 figures, heroes of Calais, he will be placed on the street to passers-by could literally look into the eyes of everyone, to feel a part of what is happening. Each of the figures demonstrates the different reactions to expected death: willingness, determination, despair, fear, humility, confusion. They do not know that the wife of the English king beg my husband for them a pardon, and so preparing for death.

Today this urban sculpture may occur in the middle of the street, crawl out from under the ground, popping up out of the water, but it became possible thanks to Rodin. Before Rodin, no one never done this before: six disparate pieces, which can only be considered beating a monument, can't see them together from any point. A monument in honor of the feat – but of the heroic pathos completely absent. As, however, there is no Central figure – its presence has so far been an absolute rule of formal sculpture. He says each character is experiencing the approach of death alone.

Providing a preliminary draft of the monument, Rodin receives a response from the authorities in Calais:
"We do not so imagine our glorious citizens going to the camp of the English king. The image of them exhausted and downcast offends our religious feelings... the Overall silhouette should be more elegant. The author could break the monotony and dryness of the external lines by varying the size of six characters. We note that the sculptor has represented Eustache of Saint-Pierre in the shirt of a very coarse fabric with heavy folds, while, according to historical records, it was easier... We consider it our duty to insist that M. Rodin changed posture, appearance and silhouette of a group".

Only in 1929, the monument was erected in front of city hall, at ground level, the shapes of the characters mingled with the crowd of ordinary citizens – everything as planned Rodin. But like many other important sculptures, the burghers of Calais were cast in several versions – and now they are 12 around the world (French law limits the number of casts of famous sculptures to 12).

One of the art critics of The Guardian wrote that the most important urban sculpture London (and throughout Britain) is "the burghers of Calais" the Frenchman Auguste Rodin. Perhaps, this monument is the most striking example of what Rodin called the dynamics of the sculpture, her stage charisma. Following the strongest character (this Eustache Saint-Pierre), the rest of the pieces unfold out for each other different degrees of courage, allowing the viewer to spend time as a continuing experience, continuing the act.

By the way, with a monument that not only London. One of the 12 sculptural ensembles of the "Citizens of Calais" is located in the capital of UK, one – in Paris and in Calais. The rest – in Israel, America, Australia, Switzerland (move the cursor to the upper right corner of the image to see the "Citizens of Calais" in different cities).

Author: Anna Sidelnikova
I like18 To the selection12
About the artwork

Art form: Sculpture

Subject and objects: Genre scene, Historical scene

Style of art: Impressionism, Realism

Materials: Bronze

Date of creation: 1880-th

Size: 217×255 cm

Artwork in selections: 12 selections