Suffering With The Burghers of Calais in Pasadena, California
They stand together wearing tattered rags, nooses, and barefoot. They are emaciated and in despair, knowing that they face execution. These are the six most prominent citizens of Calais in France, who in 1347 offered their lives to spare the city from English invaders, after a year of siege and starvation. Five centuries later, the French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840 - 1917) honored their sacrifice with a bronze statute, entitled The Burghers of Calais. Rodin rejected contemporary conventions, which portrayed the group as heroic figures. Instead, he captures their anguish of being defeated, struggling with fear and self-sacrifice, as they leave the city gates to surrender to the invaders. In the end, they were all spared by the intervention of the Queen of England, who was moved by their bravery. This statue, one of twelve created by Rodin, is displayed at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California.