The Burghers of Calais

by Jennifer Patience January. 01, 2008 1566 views

For whatever reason some stories always stay with you, and I remember reading about The Burghers of Calais when I was young.
During the Hundred Years War, Calais had been besieged by the English armies for about a year, and the French, unable to lift the siege, were starving. The English King Edward offered to spare the city if 6 of the city's leaders would surrender, to be executed. One of the city's wealthiest men plus five others volunteered and they walked out, half naked, with nooses around their necks, carrying the keys to the city.
Presumably the citizens of Calais were saved from starvation, the Burghers were themselves saved from execution by the English Queen, who thought it would be a bad omen for her unborn child to put them to death.

The sculpture in this photograph is by Rodin. The figures are slightly oversized and are given such emotion. You could tell any story of humans suffering at the hands of others and this sculpture could identify.

I was really interested to visit Rodin's house (now a museum) when I was in Paris, and I've only just recently discovered that there is a Rodin museum in Seoul that also has this sculpture. So maybe a comparitive photograph is in order…

  Be the first to like this post
Join the conversation
There are 2 comments , add yours!
Howard. 13 years, 4 months ago

An interesting story brought to life by your shot!

13 years, 4 months ago Edited
Vj Dejan Cirovic 13 years, 4 months ago

Well done!

13 years, 4 months ago Edited