The Burghers of Calais
Signed top of base between feet of Jean de Fiennes and Jacques de Wiessant: A. Rodin Foundry mark rear of base to right: ALEXIS. RUDIER. / FONDEUR. PARIS.
Auguste Rodin, French, 1840 - 1917. Cast by the founder Alexis Rudier, Paris, 1874 - 1952.
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In 1346 the English king Edward III laid siege to the French port of Calais. Eleven months later, Edward demanded the surrender of six of the town’s leading men, or burghers, in return for sparing its citizens. Rodin’s sculpture commemorates this episode and emphasizes the internal struggle of each man as he walks toward his fate wearing a sackcloth and rope halter. The burghers were later spared thanks to the intervention of the English queen, who feared that their deaths would bring bad luck to her unborn child.
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