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The citizens of Calais | Wide Walls



One of Rodin's most famous sculptures, Les Bourgeois de Calais commemorates an event during the Hundred Years War when Calais was a French port city The English Channel was about eleven For months, Edward III. besieged. It was commissioned in 1884 by the city of Calais and completed in 1889.

During the siege, Calais was struck with hunger, forcing him to surrender. Edward offered to spare the people of the city if six of their leaders surrendered to him, presumably to be executed. One of the richest city guides, Eustache de Saint Pierre volunteered first, and five other citizens joined him. Her life was spared, however, by the intervention of the English Queen, Philippa of Hainaut, who persuaded her husband to graciousness.

The sculpture with which the citizens approach the city gate to face their fate and capture a poignant mix of defeats heroic self-sacrifice and readiness to face imminent death . When the city officials commissioned a piece to celebrate the heroism of Saint Pierre, Rodin's draft, which contained all six figures depicted in "Pain, Fear and Fatalism" was initially controversial. The work was put on a grand pedestal, although Rodin wanted it to be at ground level so people could feel the solidarity with these figures. His wish was realized later, when the sculpture was placed in front of the newly completed City Hall of Calais.

Selected Image: Auguste Rodin ̵

1; Citizen of Calais, 1884-1895.


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