François Auguste René Rodin was a French sculptor generally considered the founder of modern sculpture. Rodin possessed a unique ability to model a complex, turbulent, and deeply pocketed surface in clay. He is known for such sculptures as The Thinker, Monument to Balzac, The Kiss, The Burghers of Calais, and The Gates of Hell.
Past Event: 03/10/2022
Sculptor Auguste Rodin's The Burghers of Calais
Presented by Paul Glenshaw, Smithsonian Associates
Thursday, March 10th, 2022
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM EST
Virtual Program in English via Zoom
FACC Washington, DC Members Click Here to Register!
Alliance Française de Philadelphie Members Click Here to Register!
In Auguste Rodin’s 1889 sculpture The Burghers of Calais (Les Bourgeois de Calais), six massive figures turn and twist among themselves. They are barefoot and clad in draping robes, chained, and hold massive keys. Their faces depict stages of courage, fear, despair, and resolution. Why did Rodin take on the creation of a monument to these French town leaders, who offered themselves in sacrifice to the English King Edward III almost 550 years before? Who were the burghers and why did they give themselves over to die? How did Rodin produce such a departure from conventional memorials to national heroes?
Paul Glenshaw travels back in time to the unveiling of Rodin’s epic and controversial sculpture, to the studio where he created it, and to 14th-century Calais and the moment of the burghers’ sacrifice.