Sacrificing themselves to save their fellow citizens: a new type of memorial is created.
The Burghers of Calais, Auguste Rodin, 1884-1889, Kunstmuseum Basel
On 4 August 1347, barefoot and clothed only in shirts with ropes around their necks, six leading citizens of Calais, the Burghers, met with the English King Edward III and offered to die if he spared the people of Calais. This selfless gesture and the pleas of his Queen, Philippa of Hainault, are said to have saved the six men from execution. With this work, Auguste Rodin created a new type of memorial; he chose not to portray the Burghers as heroes on a pedestal, instead sculpting a picture of unconditional capitulation and sacrifice.
The extraordinary bronze sculpture is on display in the inner courtyard of Kunstmuseum Basel.