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Jean d'Aire

Jean d'Aire

1884

Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

Bronze

Overall: 47 x 16.5 x 12.1 cm (18 1/2 x 6 1/2 x 4 3/4 in.)

Gift of Loïe Fuller 1917.723

Description

In 1884 Rodin received a commission to create a large public monument honoring six French men who volunteered to be taken prisoner by an English army in exchange for the English releasing the town of Calais from a brutal 11-month siege. This reduced cast depicts one of the volunteers from the monument. Rather than idealized heroes, Rodin portrays the prominent citizens known as burghers as ordinary men experiencing personal confrontations with death. Jean d’Aire faces his fate with stoic resolve. The thick folds of his tunic weigh heavily on his body, as if symbolic of an internal struggle between his willingness to sacrifice his life and a desire to live. His intense glare into space seems to betray the dread and anxiety raging within his mind. Immensely popular as an independent sculpture, Rodin made numerous versions in various sizes.

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