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In 1884 city of Calais decided upon Rodin as the creator of the monument of the benefactor of the city, Eustache de Saint-Pière, after long contemplation. During the Hundred Years War when the King of England crossed the English Channel and encircled the city of Calais in 1347, five of the burghers of the city as well as Eustache went as hostage to the English camp to plead for the safety of the people of the city. Rodin, moved by the chronicle written by Froissart, created a group of six despairing and suffering figures, instead of a monument of unique figure, Eustache. The burghers hold the keys of the city in their hands, have ropes around their necks and walk barefoot as they leave the city gates. The city fathers of Calais, who expected heroic figures, did not understand Rodin's suffering and solemn figural expression and refused it. As a result, the work was not unveiled in Calais until seven years after its completion. (Source: Masterpieces of the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 2009, cat. no. 138)

Details

  • Title: Burghers of Calais
  • Date Created: 1884-88 (model) - 1953 (cast)
  • Location Created: France
  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings: Signed front top of base: A. Rodin; Foundry mark right back of base: George Rudier / Fondeur Paris.
  • Sculptor: Auguste Rodin
  • Provenance: Purchased by the Japanese government in 1959.
  • Physical Dimensions: w2300 x h1800 x d2200 mm
  • Object title (Japanese): カレーの市民
  • Object notes (Japanese): 1884年、カレー市民はかねて懸案になっていた、同市を救った恩人、ウスターシュ・ド・サン・ピエールの記念碑建設を決定し、ロダンが指名された。ウスターシュは、中世百年戦争の時代、イギリス国王が1347年に英仏海峡を越えて同市を包囲した際、他の5人の地位の高いカレー市民と共に人質としてイギリス国王の陣営に赴き、カレー市と市民の生命を救ったのであった。年代記を読んで感動したロダンはウスターシュ一人の代わりに6人の市民がそれぞれの絶望と苦悩のうちに、市の鍵を手に、首に縄を巻いて裸足で市の門を出て行く群像を作り上げた。英雄の華々しい身振りを期待していた市当局はロダンの感動的な人間像を理解できずにこれを拒否し、カレー市で除幕式が行なわれたのは完成後7年経ってからだった。(出典: 国立西洋美術館名作選. 東京, 国立西洋美術館, 2006. cat. no. 138)
  • Artist Name (Japanese): ロダン、オーギュスト
  • Type: Sculptures
  • Rights: Matsukata Collection, http://www.nmwa.go.jp/en/information/privacy.html
  • External Link: The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo
  • Medium: Bronze

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