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Auguste Rodin’s Burghers of Calais

November 14–June 2, 2024

Gallery 104 and the Weston Gallery (Gallery 105)
Free admission

The civic monument The Burghers of Calais is among the most revered and recognizable works by Auguste Rodin (French, 1840–1917), hailed as the founder of modern sculpture. Conceived in the mid-1880s, the sculptural group commemorates six leading citizens of Calais who offered to sacrifice their lives to save their city during the Hundred Years War between France and England in the mid-1300s. It is both a pinnacle of European figural art and a radical break with the standards of monumental sculpture of the time—the figures’ anguished faces and strained bodies express the suffering of war and their stoic bravery.

Thanks to a generous loan from Iris Cantor, four monumental bronze figures from the group—Pierre de WissantJacques de WissantEustache de St. Pierre, and Jean d’Aire—will be displayed at the Cincinnati Art Museum for almost a year. They reveal Rodin’s artistic process, exemplify his belief in the transcendent dignity of the individual, and give a vivid sense of the monument’s avant-garde impact.

The four sculptures will be on view beginning November 14 in Galleries 104 and 105. In spring 2024, the museum will serve as a research platform, hosting contemporary working artists, students, faculty, and invited guests from and beyond the University of Cincinnati’s Fine Arts program to access and respond to Rodin’s singular accomplishment, his workshop practice, and the complex history of France and its colonies at the turn of the century. This activity will culminate in the exhibition Rodin | Response, opening in mid-June.