The Burghers of Calais
1884-95
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.

Details

  • 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
Le Normand-Romain, Antoinette; Haudiquet, Annette, Rodin: The Burghers of Calais, Fig. XII
Perloff, Marjorie, The dance of the intellect: Studies in the poetry of the Pound tradition, fig. 2.4 pp. 37-38
Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum, p. 4
Heiser, Jorg, Sculpture Unlimited, p. 10
Perloff, Marjorie, American Poetry Review, fig. 4 p. 21
Tancock, J., The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, p. 396
Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, cat. 413 p. 295
Brommer, Gerald F., Discovering Art History, p. 375
Tancock, John, The Connoisseur, fig. 1 p. 238
Melinda McCurdy, Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts,
Swingrover, Dana, Azusa Pacific University CLAUSE, p. 5
Candida Höfer. Douze. Twelve., pp. 51, 53, 73
Wilshire Centers Larchmont Chronicle,
Sculpture Garden, Norton Simon Museum, no. 8
Arcadia Tribune, p. 9
Graham, F. Lanier, Three Centuries of French Art, no. 52 pp. 148-149
Listen
Audio Tour
English | Español
Read
Audio Tour Transcript
English | Español
Escuchar
Audioguía
English | Español
Leer
Transcripción de Audioguía
English | Español

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

Image reproduction permission may be granted for scholarly or arts related commercial use. All image requests, regardless of their intended purpose, should be submitted via the reproduction request form.

Images may be protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. Additional permission may be required.

Approved requests for the reproduction of an image will receive a contract detailing all fees and conditions of use of the image. Upon receipt of both the signed contract and full payment, the Office of Rights and Reproductions will provide the image. A complimentary copy of the published material must be provided to the Norton Simon Museum.

Reproduction Request Form