"The Burghers of Calais" by Auguste Rodin, 1884-1889/cast 1953-195, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Photo: Valerie J. Fletcher, “A Garden for Art” (1998), by Valerie Fletcher)
STREAMING PROGRAM INFORMATION
- This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
- Platform: Zoom
- Online registration is required.
- If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.
Great art is timeless, and speaks to us across time, culture and space. Yet great works come from real people living real lives—whether their work was made 5 minutes or 500 years ago. In this series, popular Smithsonian Associates speaker Paul Glenshaw looks at great works of art in their historical context. He delves into the time of the artist, explores the present they inhabited, and what shaped their vision and creations.
In Rodin’s The Burghers of Calais, completed in 1889, six massive figures turn and twist among themselves. They are barefoot and clad in draping robes, chained, and hold massive keys. Their faces depict stages of courage, fear, despair, and resolution. Why did August Rodin take on the creation of a monument to these French town leaders, who offered themselves in sacrifice to the English King Edward III almost 550 years before? Who were the burghers and why did they give themselves over to die? How did Rodin produce such a departure from conventional memorials to national heroes?
Glenshaw leads a virtual visit to the cast of the memorial at the Hirshhorn Museum’s Sculpture Garden and travels back in time to the unveiling of Rodin’s epic and controversial sculpture, to the studio where he created it, and to 14th-century Calais and the moment of the burghers’ sacrifice.
Glenshaw is an artist, educator, author, and filmmaker with more than 25 years' experience working across disciplines in the arts, history, and sciences. He teaches drawing for Smithsonian Associates and studied painting at Washington University in St. Louis.
World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*
ART + HISTORY LECTURES
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UPDATED PATRON INFORMATION
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*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.