The Burghers of Calais, Auguste Rodin

A visit to the Rodin Museum in Paris was not on my list of things to do. But I walked by, needed a break from the hot day, there was no line, and in I went. Talk about a voyage of discovery. My exposure to Rodin prior to this visit amounted to The Thinker and in the case of that work, I learned during my museum visit that there are multiple castings and different versions of the statue. I found The Burghers of Calais pictured here awe-inspiring. The work was commissioned by the city of Calais to commemorate the city’s role in an event during the Hundred Years’ War. Rodin’s design was chosen from among several submissions. The final work caused considerable controversy when it was unveiled in 1889 – it was not the larger-than-life heroic allegory the city had had in mind. Instead it is a very engaging study of the six very human burghers who were central characters in the historical event commemorated. Like many of the works in the Paris Rodin Museum, this is a plaster cast of Rodin’s design.