Name: Burghers of Calais
Artist's Name: Auguste Rodin
Purpose: Commission for public monument, Calais, France
During the English siege of Calais in 1347, six of the city's leading citizens offered their lives to lift the siege and spare the rest of the populace. Rodin shows these six figures in a convincing study of despair, resignation, or quiet defiance. The burghers seem to wander aimlessly and the roughly textured surfaces make them look bedraggled and compel the viewer. Rodin designed the monument without the traditional high base so that the citizens of Calais could be eye-level with their ancestors as they prepare eternally to set off on their sacrificial journey.