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AUGUSTE RODIN THE BURGHERS OF CALAISA Resource for EducatorsTHE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART
AUGUSTE RODIN THE BURGHERS OF CALAISA Resource for Educators NELLY SILAGY BENEDEK THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ARTThis resource was produced in conjunction with the special exhibition held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from October through January The exhibition was organized by the Iris and B.Gerald Cantor FoundationThe exhibition in New York was made possible,in part,by The Georges Lurcy Charitable and Educational Trust
by The Metropolitan Museum of Art Author, Nelly Silagy Benedek Designer, Emsworth Design, Inc. Production, Masha Turchinsky Editor, Joan Meinhardt Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Benedek, Nelly Silagy Auguste Rodin: the Burghers of Calais: a resource for educators/Nelly Silagy Benedek. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references ISBN Rodin, Auguste, Burghers of Calais Study and Teaching (Secondary) I. Rodin, Auguste, II. Title NB .R A '. dc On the coverAuguste Rodin, French ( ) The Burghers of Calais cast Bronze x x in. ( x x cm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art Gift of Iris and B. Gerald Cantor,
SUGGESTIONS FOR EDUCATORS INTRODUCTION CLASSROOM ACTIVITY THE STORY OF THE BURGHERS OF CALAIS THE INDIVIDUAL BURGHERS HISTORY OF THE COMMISSION RODIN'S INNOVATIONS BRIDGE TO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY DEGAS PHOTOGRAPHY RODIN'S CRITICS CASTING RODIN'S SCULPTURE CHRONOLOGY OF THE ARTIST'S LIFE BIBLIOGRAPHY CONTENTS
Teachers of various age groups and subjects will nd this material useful. This resource will be of particular interest to those who teach language arts, visual arts, European history, art history, and French. Following are suggestions on how to incorporate this resource into your curriculum using the New York State Learning Standards for the Arts as a guideline: Standard :Creating,performing, and participating in the arts > Students will develop their own ideas and images through the exploration and creation of artworks based on themes or actual events. After learning about Rodin's sculpture The Burghers of Calais students may create their own drawings or sculptures depicting a famous historical event or illustrating the idea of heroism. Students may design a work like Rodin's that focuses on humanizing the event or the people portrayed. Standard :Knowing and using arts materials and resources > Students will increase their understanding of art by viewing slides and by visiting a museum to see an original work of art. Teachers may do the classroom activity described in this resource and then follow up with a visit to either The Metropolitan Museum of Art or a local museum or gallery to see an original sculpture. Students may then discuss the differences between viewing slides of a work and seeing the original. > Students will become acquainted with art history to understand what is required to become an artist,historian,art historian, and/or art critic. By learning about Rodin's life and work, students will develop an understanding of the artist's craft and the skills necessary to create a work of art. They will learn how an artist makes choices and decisions about the form and content of his or her work. In addition to the classroom activity included in this resource, students may write a formal critique of The Burghers of Calais, thereby gaining an understanding of how historians, art historians, and art critics formulate their ideas about art and/or history. Standard :Responding to and analyzing works of art > Students will explore the meanings,purposes,and sources of a work of art They will describe their responses to the work and the likely reasons for those responses. By doing the classroom activity described in this resource, students will both describe what they see in Rodin's sculpture The Burghers of Calais and consider the ideas expressed in the piece. After learning the history of the sculpture, they will discuss why and how Rodin chose to render his gures the way he did. > Students will describe the visual and other sensory qualities (texture,shape,size, and volume) of a work of art. By viewing the slides of Rodin's work as well as slides of work by other artists, doing the classroom activity, and discussing Rodin's sculpture, students will be able to describe how Rodin creates movement, texture, and shape, and how he conveys emotion in his piece. > Students will explain how the ideas, themes,or concepts in a work of art are expressed in other disciplines,specically science,literature,and social studies. In relation to science and photography students may compare Rodin's sculpture to the stop-action photography of Eadweard SUGGESTIONS FOR EDUCATORS
Muybridge The photographer's images of people and animals in motion mirror the effect of the six burghers' repeated gestures. Social studies students may discuss Rodin's sculpture in terms of its subject matter. The Burghers of Calais is a tribute to six men who were prepared to die in order to liberate the French town of Calais, under siege by King Edward III of England in during the Hundred Years' War. The sculpture offers Rodin's perspective on what it means to be heroic in times of war. His heroes, however, are not examples of unqualied bravery. They are conicted individuals exhibiting a range of emotions, including doubt, despair, and confusion. > Using the language of art criticism,students will write analyses and interpretations of Rodin's work. In addition to doing the classroom activity in this resource, students may research Rodin's work and read critical reviews of his sculpture in books and periodicals. They then may discuss how critics of Rodin's time interpreted his work and compare these responses with their own. > Students will analyze and interpret the ways in which psychological concepts are explored in The Burghers of Calais. By discussing the expressions on the faces of the six burghers, students will attempt to determine which emotions and concepts are explored by the artist as well as their signicance. > Students will describe the impact of the work of art on the viewer. Students will describe the impact of Rodin's sculpture on the viewer through discussions and through the writing exercise described in this resource. Standard :Understanding the cultural dimensions and contributions of the arts > Students will explore the signicance of Rodin's piece in terms of its cultural context and will compare Rodin's work to the art of other cultures and/or eras. Students may write a short research paper comparing Rodin's The Burghers of Calais with public sculptures in their own neighborhoods that pay tribute to a hero or famous leader. The students may discuss how the artists express the idea of heroism or bravery in different ways or how the depictions of heroism are similar. Students may compare Rodin's sculpture to works by Edgar Degas Both Rodin and Degas created formsspecically torsos, limbs, and facesthat they use repeatedly throughout their work. Constructing compositions in this way creates a sense of movement throughout the piece; it also focuses attention on the rhythm of the formal arrangement rather than on a description of a particular event or person. Studentsalso may compare Rodin's work to the art of twentieth-century artists Discussions may focus on how Rodin's work was innovative in expressing psychological content as well as in experimenting with form. Students also may discuss Rodin's sculptures in relation to those produced by non-European artists, such as artists from Africa and Asia Students may focus how artists from different cultures depict the human gure.
Rodin's sculpture The Burghers of Calais* consists of six gures standing in various positions and facing in different directions. They stand together on the same levelno gure is elevated above anotherwear the same plain garments, and possess similar physiques. However, they all exhibit different facial expressions: sorrow, despair, determination. This resource will discuss the following questions: Who are these men? What is their relationship to one another? What are they doing? Why are their hands and feet so large in comparison with their bodies? Why are they facing in different directions? Does the sculpture tell a story? Why is it an important work of art? Students will benet most from this resource by discovering Rodin's sculpture and its message on their own.The classroom activity is designed for students to study The Burghers of Calais before they know anything about the story or Rodin's life.Teachers also may benet by doing the activity themselves before reading the other sections of this resource. The title of the sculpture in French is Le Monument aux Bourgeois de Calais INTRODUCTION
BEFORE GIVING THE STUDENTS INFORMATION ABOUT THE SCULPTURE . > Show the slides of TheBurghers of Calais to your students and/or display the poster included in this resource. > Ask your students to focus on one of the six gures. > Have the students closely study the gure they have chosen and then imagine themselves as that gure. Ask them to write an account of their point of view, their thoughts and feelings, based on what they see in the sculpture. Their comments should be written in the rst person, as though they were one of the men in Rodin's sculpture. > Have the students read their comments aloud, then ask if the other students can guess which gure is being discussed. > Compare the comments of students who chose the same gure. How are the observations similar? How are they different? Which emotions does Rodin convey? How has Rodin expressed these emotions? > Compare the comments about different gures. Are there any similarities? The purpose of this exercise is for students to accomplish the following: > Articulate their reactions to the sculpture in writing > Discover how each student may interpret the sculpture in his or her own way > Understand the complexity and variety of the gures' expressions and poses > Begin exploring the signicance of the piece and, specically, the relationships among the various gures and the message conveyed by the sculpture in its entirety AFTER DISCUSSING THE STORY OF THE BURGHERS OF CALAIS . > After you have discussed the sculpture with your students and told them the story of the burghers, ask them to do the exercise again, this time incorporating the knowledge they have acquired from the discussions. The purpose of this exercise is for students to see how their responses to the sculpture remain the same or differ once they know the specics of the narrative. CLASSROOM ACTIVITY
In the town council of the French city of Calais commissioned Rodin to produce a sculpture that would pay tribute to the burghers of Calais, heroes of the Hundred Years' War and symbols of French patriotism. In according to the fourteenth-century Chronicles of Jean Froissart, King Edward III of England laid siege to the French town of Calais. After eleven months, with the people desperately short of food and water, six of the leading citizens, or burghers, of Calais offered themselves as hostages to Edward in exchange for the freedom of their city. The king agreed, ordering them to dress in plain garments, wear nooses around their necks, and journey to his camp bearing the keys to the city. Although the king intended to kill the burghers, his pregnant wife, Philippa, persuaded him to spare them, believing that their deaths would be a bad omen for her unborn child. The story of the burghers of Calais appears in the work of earlier artists, most of whom focused on the single gure of Eustache de Saint-Pierre. Rodin, however, decided to include all six burghers. He had read Froissart's Chronicles and elected to use the text as the basis for his sculpture. Froissart describes how each man, a rich and well-respected citizen, announces his intention to offer himself as a hostage to King Edward III. Froissart then writes of the men's departure after removing the ne clothing that would have identied them as wealthy citizens, wearing instead their "shirts and breeches" (undergarments). Rodin chooses to portray the moment in the narrative when the men, believing they are going to die, leave the city. He shows the burghers as vulnerable and conicted, yet heroic in the face of their likely fate. THE STORY OF THE BURGHERS OF CALAIS
The council originally had conceived of the sculpture as a monument to Eustache de Saint-Pierre, leader of the group and the most famous of the burghers. Rodin, however, decided to follow Froissart's text as closely as possible and include all six burghers, according them equal status. The following is an excerpt from Froissart's Chronicles:. . the richest burgher in the town, Sir Eustache de Saint-Pierre, got up and said: "Gentlemen, it would be a great shame to allow so many people to starve to death, if there were any way of preventing it. And it would be highly pleasing to Our Lord if anyone could save them from such a fate. I have such faith and trust in gaining pardon and grace from Our Lord if I die in the attempt, that I will put myself forward as the rst. I will willingly go out in my shirt, bareheaded and barefoot, with a halter [noose] around my neck and put myself at the mercy of the King of England." . Another very rich and much respected citizen, called Jean d'Aire, . rose up and said he would keep him company. The third to volunteer was Sir Jacques de Wissant [ sic ], who was very rich both by inheritance and by his own transactions; he offered to accompany his two cousins, and so did Sir Pierre his brother. Two others completed the number, and set off dressed only in their shirts and breeches, and with halters round their necks, as they had been told.John Jolliffe, ed. and trans., Froissart's Chronicles (London: Harvill Press, ), p. quoted in Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, p. Froissart mentions four of the six burghers by name: Eustache de Saint-Pierre, Jean d'Aire, Jacques de Wiessant, and Pierre de Wiessant. (The other two, whose names are mentioned in a manuscript found in the Vatican Library in are Jean de Fiennes and Andrieu d'Andres.) THE INDIVIDUAL BURGHERS Jean d'Aire Eustache de Saint-Pierre Pierre de Wiessant( )Pierre de Wiessant( )
Although Froissart narrates the sequence of events and describes how the burghers looked when they were leaving Calais (dressed in plain garments, wearing nooses around their necks, and bearing the keys to the city), he does not describe their facial features, postures, or specic gestures. Rodin used his imagination to create gures that he believed would be true to the spirit of Froissart's account. Rodin had models pose for certain parts of the gures, although in the end the gures assumed more generalized types. Auguste Beuret, Rodin's son with his companion, Rose Beuret; the painter Jean-Charles Cazin, a native of Calais who claimed to be a descendant of Eustache de Saint-Pierre; and Pignatelli, an Italian peasant, all posed for the sculpture at various stages. Rodin observed his models' features but modied them in creating his gures. He made numerous studies of each of the six burghers, rst modeling them as nudes and then rendering them as clothed gures. After Rodin had developed each gure individually, he joined them into a single work of art. Jacques de Wiessant( )Jean de Fiennes Jacques de Wiessant( )Andrieu d'Andres
Eustache de Saint-Pierre Eustache de Saint-Pierre is the richest, oldest, and most prominent citizen of the group and the rst to volunteer. Jean d'Aire, the second to volunteer, stands rmly in place, his jaw set, holding one of the keys to the city. Jean d'Aire Pierre de Wiessant, Jacques de Wiessant's younger brother and the fourth to volunteer, turns sideways toward Jean de Fiennes with one arm raised and his mouth open. Pierre de Wiessant Eustache de Saint-Pierre and Jean d'Aire
As a group,the gures convey emotions ranging from pain,hesitation,and doubt to conviction and determination. Rodin presents his "heroes"as complex, conicted individuals. Jacques de Wiessant, the third to volunteer, has one arm raised and stands behind Eustache de Saint-Pierre Jean de Fiennes, the youngest burgher, stands with arms outstretched and mouth open. Andrieu d'Andres buries his head in his hands. His bent posture and enormous hands obscure his face. Jacques de Wiessant Andrieu d'Andres Jean de Fiennes Jean d'Aire and Andrieu d'Andres
In September the municipal council of Calais decided to commission a statue of Eustache de Saint-Pierre, the oldest and most important of the six burghers of Calais. The decision was controversial because his role in the drama was unclear. Some accounts reported that he had actually committed treason, collaborating with King Edward III, while others lauded him as a great hero. In January based on the submission of a small-scale model, the municipal council chose Rodin to create the monument to the burghers of Calais. The clay maquette, or sketch, showed six gures striding forward, with the gure of Eustache de Saint-Pierre leading the group. The contract signed by Rodin and the mayor of Calais required the artist to present a second maquette before completion of the nal work; it was to be one-third the size of the nal monument. Typically, sculptors of public works submitted a small model for the approval of the committee commissioning the work. The model usually reected what the nished product would look like. In this case the committee was pleased with the rst version. Rodin proceeded with his work and in August offered a second model for review. Because Rodin constantly worked and reworked his pieces, the sculpture had taken on, by this point, a very different appearance. After the committee reviewed the second model the members reported:This is not the way we envisaged our glorious citizens going to the camp of the King of England. Their defeated postures offended our religion. . the silhouette of the group leaves much to be desired from the point of view of elegance. The artist could give more movement to the ground, which supports his gures and could even break the monotony and dryness of the silhouette by varying the heights of the six subjects. . We feel it our duty to insist that M. Rodin modify the attitudes of his gures and the silhouette of his group.Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, p. In the rst maquette the six gures were elevated on a pedestal, connected by a rope, and arranged striding forward as a group. In the second model Rodin had removed the pedestal and modeled each gure separately. Although they were still on the same level, they now existed as individual gures. From the beginning, the council had not been satised with the gural arrangement. Monumental sculpture in the nineteenth century typically assumed a pyramidal structure in order to delineate clearly the most important gure or gures. The council concluded that the separate placement of each gure, all on the same level, rendered the sculpture unacceptable. Rodin, always quick to respond to negative criticism of his work, wrote a letter to the mayor of the city, Omer Dewavrin:I read again the criticisms I had heard before, but which would emasculate my work; the heads to form a pyramid (Louis David method) instead of a cube (straight lines) means submitting to the law of the Academic School. I am dead against the principle, which has prevailed since the beginning of this century but is in direct contradiction with previous great ages in art and produces works that are cold, static and conventional. . I am the antagonist in Paris of that affected academic style. . you are asking me to follow the people whose conventional art I despise.Miller and Marotta, Rodin:The B.Gerald Cantor Collection p. Rodin was addressing criticism that endorsed an academic style intended for all artists. The well-established model for both painting and sculpture provided a series of HISTORY OF THE COMMISSION
rules that were supposed to guide the artist in his work. The "pyramid" refers to a hierarchical arrangement of gures, with the most important gure on top anked by lesser ones, which the artist Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825) used in his work. Rodin saw these guidelines as limitations and perceived their implementation as formulaic and affected. Rodin was determined to create a work that delineated the importance of each of the burghers and emphasized the individual gestures, facial expressions, and postures. He refused to conform to a prescribed academic style dictated by the cole des Beaux-Arts (the ofcial school in France for training painters) and the council that had commissioned his work. Although the council had reservations about Rodin's work, they agreed to allow him to nish it. Rodin received francs on June , and, although the commission was suspended that year due to a nancial crisis in Calais, Rodin continued working on the piece. He exhibited the group in plaster at the Exposition MonetRodin in Paris during the spring of In September Mayor Dewavrin reinstated the commission and Rodin proceeded to look for a foundry that would cast the sculpture according to his specications. The rm of Le Blanc-Barbdienne agreed to cast each gure in a single piece and then join them together. On June , Rodin's The Burghers of Calais, on a high pedestal and enclosed by an iron fence, was unveiled in the Richelieu Garden in Calais. In the monument was moved to the front of the Calais town hall (the Htel de Ville), now without the fence and on a much lower pedestal, as Rodin originally had specied.
Auguste Rodin's sculpture exhibits characteristics that were innovative for his time and that shocked many of his contemporaries, including the town council of Calais. > All of the gures stand at the same level. Although Eustache de Saint-Pierre, the bearded man, was considered the leader of the group, Rodin does not place him in a prominent position in relation to the other burghers; all the men stand at the same level. Rodin chooses not to use the hierarchical arrangement typical of his time, which called for a pyramidal grouping with a prominent central gure. For the viewer, there is no clear distinction as to which gure might be the leader of the group. All the men are literally and guratively on equal footing. > The six burghers face in different directions. Rodin constructs his sculpture as a collection of gures that seem randomly grouped together. Because each one is facing in a different direction and gesturing in various ways, each seems to have his own agenda and individual response to the situation. > The sculpture has many focal points. The piece must be viewed from all sides for one to appreciate it in its entirety. Typically, academic-style sculpture presents a single point of reference; the sculpture has a clear front and back. RODIN'S INNOVATIONS
> The hands and feet are proportionally large. The hands and feet of each gure are large and ponderous, out of proportion to the rest of the body. Rodin communicates the severity of the burghers' situation and, specically, the weight of their decision by literally weighing the men down, binding them to the ground. They are literally and guratively burdened by their collective decision to sacrice their lives. Rodin states:They are still questioning themselves to know if they have the strength to accomplish the supreme sacricetheir soul pushes them onward, but their feet refuse to walk. They drag themselves along painfully, as much because of the feebleness to which famine has reduced them as because of the terrifying nature of the sacrice. .Miller and Marotta, Rodin:The B.Gerald Cantor Collection, p.
> The gures reveal their vulnerabilities. The committee was looking for an expression of unqualied bravery, perhaps a proud, lifted chin, an upright posture, or a look of clear determination. They were certainly expecting the facial expressions of the six burghers to correspond with one another and communicate a single purpose. Instead, each of Rodin's burghers exhibits his own response to his decision, and none of these necessarily conforms to a traditional heroic formula. Eustache de Saint-Pierre is stooped, gaunt, and elderly rather than straight-backed, youthful, and muscular. He seems to hesitate instead of marching forward as the group's leader. Andrieu d'Andres buries his head in his hands as though in despair, and Jean de Fiennes, with arms outspread and mouth open, appears to be questioning the decision. Rodin further explains:I did not hesitate to make them as thin and as weak as possible. If, in order to respect some academic convention or other, I had tried to show bodies that were still agreeable to look at, I would have betrayed my subject. These people, having passed through the privations of a long siege, no longer have anything but skin on their bones. The more frightful my representation of them, the more people should praise me for knowing how to show the truth of history. I have not shown them grouped in a triumphant apotheosis; such glorication of their heroism would not have corresponded to anything real.Miller and Marotta, Rodin:The B.Gerald Cantor Collection, p. Rodin's Innovations,continued
> The burghers are dressed in plain garments rather than in ne,expensive clothing that would identify them as leading citizens of their town. All the men wear simple, nondescript garments, which look like a kind of undergarment rather than the nery that would have identied them as the leading citizens of Calais. Although Froissart's text explains that King Edward III ordered the burghers to dress in plain garments, the council conveyed to Rodin that if he had shown them at an earlier moment in the narrative, they could have been portrayed in more stately, respectable clothing. Rodin, however, chooses to show the burghers when they are leaving the city and look the most vulnerable. He wants them to appear as ordinary human beings en route to a terrible fate. > Their facial expressions project complex emotions. The members of the council were looking for an unequivocal message, that is, a clear illustration of a historical event or an allegory. They expected the gures to communicate a single, unambiguous message. In The Burghers of Calais each gure's expression is complex and multifaceted. About this Rodin says:. . I have . threaded them one behind the other, because in the indecision of the last inner combat, which ensues, between their devotion to their cause and their fear of dying, each of them is isolated in front of his conscience. They are still questioning themselves to know if they have the strength to accomplish the supreme sacrice. . .Miller and Marotta, Rodin:The B.Gerald Cantor Collection, p. Rodin is describing how each of the burghers has an intensely personal experience even though he is part of a larger group. The Burghers of Calais reveals, through gesture and expression, the psychological complexity of each man's decision. > Rodin did not want the sculpture placed on a pedestal. He wanted the gures to be on the same level as those who viewed the sculpture. He stated:Idid not want a pedestal for these gures. I wanted them to be placed on, even afxed to, the paving stones of the square in front of the Htel de Ville in Calais so that it looked as if they were leaving in order to go to the enemy camp. In this way they would have been, as it were, mixed with the daily life of the town: passersby would have elbowed them, and they would have felt through this contact the emotion of the living past in their midst; they would have said to themselves: "Our ancestors are our neighbors and our models, and the day when it will be granted to us to imitate their example, we would show that we have not degenerated from it." . But the commissioning body understood nothing of the desires I expressed. They thought I was mad. . Statues without a pedestal! Where had that ever been seen before? There must be a pedestal; there was no way of getting around it.Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, p.
Rodin's art bridges the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. On the one hand, his work is that of a traditional nineteenth-century sculptor; the historical subject matter and its translation into monumental narrative sculpture are conventional practices of his time. On the other hand, his work points in a new direction for sculpture. Two characteristics of his workfragmentation and repetitionare new artistic preoccupations that would interest twentieth-century artists who came after him. In The Burghers of Calais each gure is a composite. Rodin created plaster casts of legs, arms, and torsos throughout his artistic career and used the same casts repeatedly in various sculptures. Sometimes a particular hand or foot would recur in his work over the course of decades. He also combined some of the same casts in a single sculpture. Here, Rodin portrays six individuals who share some of the same features. For example, Jean d'Aire and Andrieu d'Andres have the same head and face; those of Jacques de Wiessant are a slightly different version. Also, the brothers Jacques and Pierre de Wiessant share the same right hand, while all the gures have similarly large hands and feet. BRIDGE TO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
Other nineteenth-century artists explored the idea of repeating forms in a single piece to unify a composition and create dynamic rhythms and spatial arrangements. Edgar Degas ( ) composed his gures of dancers, for example, by drawing on a treasury of his own images; sketches, paintings, pastels, and sculptures became the basis for numerous variations on similar themes. Thus, a particular gure could have the head of one model and the torso of another. Degas often would use similar gures, limbs, and gestures in a single work of art. These combinations would show his dancers as a series of colorful forms in motion rather than as individuals. In Degas's paintings, as in Rodin's sculptures, the artist builds his own reality rooted in observations of his world and then translated into his own particular vocabulary. Both artists establish their own forms and continuously redene them so that an arm, a gesture, or a stance takes on a different meaning depending on its context. BRIDGE TO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY DEGAS Edgar Degas, French ( ) Dancers,Pink and Green Oil on canvas x in. ( x cm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, .
In photography, Eadweard Muybridge ( ) and tienne-Jules Marey ( ) used stop-action photography to record gures in motion. (Rodin was one of the original subscribers to Muybridge's Animal Locomotion, which rst appeared in .) Although the photographers' objective was scienticto investigate how gures move in spacethe resulting images are characterized by a repetition of movements of the same gure. Although in The Burghers of Calais Rodin depicts six different individuals, the similarities among the gurestheir height, large hands and feet, plain garments, and, in the case of Jean d'Aire and Andrieu d'Andres, identical facial featurescreate a visual arrangement that unies their actions. The gures illustrate the range of emotional responses a person might exhibit if faced with the burghers' predicament. Whereas Muybridge shows the same horse and rider in different stages of motion, Rodin presents six different ways one person might respond to a particular situation. Like Degas, Muybridge, and Marey, Rodin created a dynamic way of portraying the human gure in motion. By repeating forms within a piece he conveys a sense of movement and unity that challenges the traditional academic model. The repetition of gures and forms both heightens the drama of the piece and creates a complex psychological dimension. BRIDGE TO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY PHOTOGRAPHY
For many twentieth-century artists, Rodin's genius lies in his means of representation rather than in the stories he tells. Whereas Rodin perceives his style and technique as a way of conveying a message, many twentieth-century artists see the means or the process of creating as an end in itself. During the s, avant-garde sculptors began focusing on the importance of an artwork's medium and formal elements. Any narrative or subject matter was considered secondary to the primacy of the forms themselvesthe shapes in the piece, their arrangement, and use of space. As the formal elements of sculpture became more important to artists than narratives or allegorical subject matter, many rejected Rodin's work as too rhetorical, too bound to particular narratives, and overwhelmed by clichd themes and emotions. During the s, however, art historians such as Leo Steinberg championed the sculptor's role as an innovator, singling out the dynamism and energy of his forms. In May Curt Valentin organized an exhibition of Rodin's work at his gallery on Fifty-seventh Street. The bronze sculptures and original plasters revealed the experimental nature of his sculpture and marked the beginning of a revival of interest in Rodin's art. In the Museum of Modern Art held a major exhibition of the artist's work. Albert Elsen's important monograph Rodin was published in conjunction with that exhibition. The following characteristics of Rodin's sculpture inspired many twentieth-century artists: > Exaggeration of gural proportions > Numerous focal points in a single piece > Elimination of a pedestal > Lack of a pyramidal structure > Repetition of forms > Use of fragments > Evidence of the sculptor's working process BRIDGE TO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY RODIN'S CRITICS
Unlike a painting, of which there is only one original, the medium of bronze sculpture allows for more than one cast of the same piece. During Rodin's lifetime the sculptor allowed numerous foundries to cast his work, thus creating a plethora of some works and much confusion as to their authenticity. Some of the casts lacked foundry marks, while others were missing the artist's signature. In the Rodin scholar Albert Elsen organized a committee comprising art historians, artists, museum curators, and art dealers that drafted a "Statement on the Standards for Sculptural Reproduction and Preventative Measures to Combat Unethical Casting in Bronze." This document provided benchmarks for authenticating Rodin's work as well as work by other nineteenth-century sculptors. At the same time, it proposed rules to govern the production and reproduction of sculptors' works. Rodin had given the Muse Rodin the right to cast his sculpture after his death. French law permits the production of only twelve casts of each work by Rodin. In the French government established these limitations to ensure that the casts were authentic. A law stated that the rst eight casts would be available for purchase by individuals and the last four would go to cultural institutions. Presently, there are at least eleven casts of The Burghers of Calais including the Metropolitan Museum's cast. The locations of the ten other known casts are: > Basel, Kunstmuseum Basel; acquired in > Brussels, Mariemont Park; commissioned in for the Warocqu Collection > Calais, square of the Htel de Ville; the rst bronze cast > Copenhagen, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek; commissioned by Carl Jacobsen in > London, gardens of the Houses of Parliament; purchased by the British government in > Los Angeles, Norton Simon, Inc. Museum of Art > Paris, Muse Rodin > Philadelphia, Rodin Museum > Tokyo, National Museum of Western Art; purchased by the Japanese government in > Washington, D.C., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution CASTING RODIN'S SCULPTURE
November birth of Franois-Auguste Ren Rodin in Paris to Jean-Baptiste Rodin, age thirty-eight, and Marie Cheffer, age thirty-four. Enters the Petite cole (the cole Impriale Spciale de Dessin et de Mathmatiques),a school for the training of decorative artists. Begins modeling clay. Studies at the Louvre. Leaves the Petite cole. Fails the entrance exam of the Grande cole (cole des BeauxArts) forfeiting the prestige that the cole accords its students. (Graduates of the cole received the important commissions for public sculptures.) Works as a statuary mason for various decorators. Employed by the architect Haussmann in his reconstruction of Paris under Napoleon III. Death of his sister, Maria, age twenty-ve. Rodin enters the Order of the Fathers of the Holy Sacrament as Brother Augustine. Leaves the Order. Studies with the animal sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye ( ) at the Muse d'Histoire Naturelle. Has various decorative art jobs. Meets and begins working for the sculptor Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse ( ). First studio on rue Le Brun. The sculpture called Man with a Broken Nose is rejected by the Salon. Meets Rose Beuret ( ),who becomes his companion. Son Auguste-Eugne Beuret is born on January Franco-Prussian War. Drafted into the National Guard. Attains the rank of corporal. Discharged for myopia. Works with Carrier-Belleuse in Brussels. Death of his mother. Has his rst exhibition in Belgium. Begins collaboration with the sculptor Antoine van Rasbourgh. Involved in various architectural decoration projects in Brussels. The rst Impressionist exhibition takes place. Travels to Italy and leaves Rose in charge of his studio in Brussels. Studies Michelangelo's works. Lives in Paris with Rose Beuret. Exhibits The Age of Bronze,* called TheVanquished. Begins Saint John the Baptist Preaching and creates Walking Man.* Partnership with van Rasbourgh ends. Saint John the Baptist Preaching (which is larger than lifesize) and The Age of Bronze are exhibited together at the Salon. TheFrench state commissions The Gates of Hell Creates The Thinker.* Finishes Adam.* Works on the Gates of Hell,Eve,* and the Fallen Caryatid with Stone.* Exhibits Adam and Saint John the Baptist Preaching at the Paris Salon. Meets Camille Claudel, who becomes his mistress. She is also his model and works as a sculptor in his studio. Creates Bust of Victor Hugo .* His father dies. Moves to a larger studio at rue de Vaugirard. The Calais municipality commissions The Burghers of Calais.* Works on the Gates of Hell and The Burghers of Calais. Submits rst maquette for The Burghers of Calais. Signs contract for The Burghers of Calais commission. Rodin made Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. Exhibits The Kiss (bronze) and three gures from The Burghers of Calais at the Galerie Georges Petit, Paris. Joint exhibition of Rodin's and Monet's work at the Galerie Georges Petit. Rodin shows thirty-six works, including The Burghers of Calais. The French government commissions The Monument to Victor Hugo First rejection of the Victor Hugo sculpture. The Eiffel Tower is completed. Second rejection of the Victor Hugo project. Rodin works on a third Victor Hugo sculpture. Works on a monument to Balzac. Rodin becomes the president of the sculpture section of the Socit Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris. The subscription for the monument to the burghers of Calais is renewed, having been inactive since Rodin's health declines. CHRONOLOGY OF THE ARTIST'S LIFE
Travels in the South of France. Meets Czanne at Monet's house at Giverny. In Calais visits the site of The Burghers of Calais monument. Buys a house at Meudon. Moves to his new house, the Villa des Brilliants at Meudon. The Burghers of Calais is installed in the Place de Richelieu, Calais, on a ve-foot-high pedestal. Exhibits plaster cast of The Monument to Victor Hugo The Metropolitan Museum of Art acquires its rst Rodin sculpture, The Bust of Saint John the Baptist.* The Socit des Gens de Lettres rejects the sculpture of Balzac. Much negative press against Rodin. Ends relationship with Camille Claudel. Exhibits plaster of Balzac and The Kiss (marble) at the Salon de la Socit Nationale, Paris. Opening of the Rodin Pavilion on the Place de l'Alma, near the Exposition Universelle, Paris. Rodin exhibits one hundred and fty works. Exhibits at the Venice Biennale and at the Third Berlin Secession. Travels to Prague for an exhibition of his work. Meets the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke and the American dancer Isadora Duncan. Named Commander of the Legion of Honor. Becomes president of the International Society of Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers following Whistler's death. Exhibitions in Berlin, London, Venice, and New York. Exhibits large plaster and small bronze of The Thinker at the International Society of Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers exhibition, London. Exhibits large bronze of The Thinker at the Salon de la Socit Nationale, Paris. Rilke becomes Rodin's secretary. Exhibits at the Autumn Salon for the rst time. The Thinker is placed in front of the Panthon. Rodin dismisses Rilke as his secretary. Reconciliation with Rilke. Exhibitions in London, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, Venice, New York, and Budapest. The king of England, Edward VII, visits Rodin at Meudon. Rodin moves to the Htel Biron, rue de Varenne. Exhibitions in Berlin, Florence, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Liverpool, and Vienna. Inauguration of The Monument toVictor Hugo in the gardens of the Palais Royal. The Metropolitan Museum of Art acquires twelve works by Rodin. Travels to London to choose the site for The Burghers of Calais The French state buys the Htel Biron for the Ministre d'Instruction Publique et des Beaux-Arts. The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Rodin collection opens. Camille Claudel conned to an asylum. The Burghers of Calais is placed in the Parliament Gardens in London. Rodin writes a book titled The Cathedrals of France, assisted by Charles Maurice. Germany declares war on France. The National Assembly votes to establish a Muse Rodin in the Htel Biron. Rodin marries Rose Beuret at Meudon on January Rose dies of pneumonia on February Rodin dies on November His funeral is held on November Rodin is buried at Meudon near the grave of Rose Beuret, under the statue of The Thinker. The Muse Rodin is ofcially approved. The Burghers of Calais is relocated to the square in front of the town hall at ground level without the fence that had surrounded it at the previous location. These works of art may be viewed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. For a more detailed chronology, see Miller and Marotta, Rodin:The B.Gerald Cantor Collection.
Ambrosini, Lynne, and Michelle Facos. Rodin:The Cantor Gift to the Brooklyn Museum. New York: The Brooklyn Museum, Butler, Ruth. Rodin:The Shape of Genius. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, , ed. Rodin in Perspective Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc., , Jeanine Parisier Plottel, and Jane Mayo Roos. Rodin's Monument to Victor Hugo. Merrell Holberton Publishers London in association with the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, Elsen, Albert E. In Rodin's Studio:A Photographic Record of Sculpture in the Making Ithaca: Cornell University Press, . Rodin New York: The Museum of Modern Art, . Rodin's Thinker and the Dilemmas of Modern Public Sculpture New Haven and London: Yale University Press, , ed. Rodin Rediscovered Washington: National Gallery of Art, Krauss, Rosalind E. The Originality of the AvantGarde and Other Modernist Myths Cambridge, Mass., and London: The MIT Press, Miller, Joan Vita, and Gary Marotta. Rodin:The B.Gerald Cantor Collection New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Published in conjunction with the exhibition held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, April June Steinberg, Leo. Other Criteria:Confrontations with Twentieth-Century Art New York: Oxford University Press, Tancock, John L. The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin: The Collection of the Rodin Museum Philadelphia Philadelphia: David R. Godine in association with The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Varnedoe, Kirk. A Fine Disregard:What Makes Modern Art Modern New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, Vilain, Jacques, et al. Rodin at the Muse Rodin London: Scala Books, Vincent, Clare. "Rodin at The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A History of the Collection." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (spring ). BIBLIOGRAPHY