The Burghers of Calais
Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917)
On View

The Burghers of Calais depicts an episode from the history of the Hundred Years' War. In 1347, after the city of Calais had been under siege for eleven months, six prominent citizens offered their lives to the English king, Edward III, in return for his promise to spare the city. Upon hearing of their bravery, Queen Philippa interceded and obtained their release. In 1884, Rodin was commissioned by the city of Calais to produce a monument honoring the six burghers. Rodin rejected the established conventions of public sculpture and portrayed the men not as glorious heroes, but as troubled and isolated individuals brought together by their anguish and common purpose. He depicted the emaciated figures departing, dressed in tattered sackcloth, to surrender themselves to the English army. Features and proportions are distorted to intensify the expressiveness of the figures struggling with their conflicting thoughts of fear, indecision, anguish, and nobility.


  • Artist Name: Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917)
  • Title: The Burghers of Calais
  • Date: 1884-95
  • Medium: Bronze
  • Edition: Edition of 12, Cast No. 10
  • Dimensions: 82-1/2 x 93-1/2 x 70-3/4 in. (209.6 x 237.5 x 179.7 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation
  • Accession Number: M.1968.04.S
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

[on loan]

  • Houston, The Museum of Fine Arts, 1969-05 to 1970-03

Three Centuries of French Art: Selections from The Norton Simon, Inc. Museum of Art and The Norton Simon Foundation_1

  • California Palace of the Legion of Honor, 1973-05-03 to 1976-06-15
  • Tancock, John, The Connoisseur, fig. 1 p. 238
  • Sculpture Garden, Norton Simon Museum, no. 8
  • Graham, F. Lanier, Three Centuries of French Art, no. 52 pp. 148-149
  • Brommer, Gerald F., Discovering Art History, p. 375
  • Wilshire Centers Larchmont Chronicle, 1970,
  • Arcadia Tribune, 1970, p. 9
  • Tancock, J., The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, 1976, p. 396
  • Perloff, Marjorie, American Poetry Review, 1982, fig. 4 p. 21
  • Perloff, Marjorie, The dance of the intellect: Studies in the poetry of the Pound tradition, 1985, fig. 2.4 pp. 37-38
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum, 1989, p. 4
  • Swingrover, Dana, Azusa Pacific University CLAUSE, 1989, p. 5
  • Candida Höfer. Douze. Twelve., 2001, pp. 51, 53, 73
  • Le Normand-Romain, Antoinette; Haudiquet, Annette, Rodin: The Burghers of Calais, 2001, Fig. XII
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 413 p. 295
  • Heiser, Jorg, Sculpture Unlimited, 2011, p. 10
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Additional Artwork by Artist

Jean de Fiennes, Vetu Auguste Rodin 1884-95
Monument to Balzac Auguste Rodin 1897
Mouvement de Danse G Auguste Rodin c.1910-11

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