The character ‘Pierre,’ from Rodin's evocative Burghers of Calais ensemble sculpture is a great figure in his own right, one of Rodin's finest in my view, and part of a piece of intense nobility and powerful human drama -- and doesn't that hand just say so much?
The Burghers of Calais (Les Bourgeois de Calais) is one of the most famous sculptures by Auguste Rodin, completed in 1888. It serves as a monument to an occurrence in 1347 during the Hundred Years' War, when Calais, an important French port on the English Channel, was under siege by the English for over a year.
The story goes that after a victory in the Battle of Crécy, England's Edward III laid siege to Calais, whereupon Philip VI of France ordered the city to hold out at all costs.
Philip himself failed to lift the siege and starvation eventually forced the city to parlay for surrender. The dealing did not go well. Edward offered to spare the people of the city if any six of its top leaders would surrender themselves to him, presumably to be executed. Edward demanded that they walk out almost naked with nooses around their necks, and be carrying the keys to the city and castle. The burghers volunteered, to save their city, and began their final short journey …