Photograph of Les Bourgeois de Calais (The Burghers of Calais) taken by Alphonse Eugene Druet Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Rodin's The Burghers of Calais is out on display in this carefully planned photograph that is believed to have been taken by Alphonse Eugene Druet, one of many photographers used by the sculptor during his lifetime.

Here we find the lighting carefully directed in from the left hand side, partly through the window behind the sculpture, though also with additional light within the room. It appears to be on display within a tall, classically designed room that may have been a specially prepared part of his mansion or perhaps an exhibition gallery in Paris. The sculpture is centered within the photograph so that it immediately gains our attention, but the piece allows other detail to enter the composition as well. It serves a documentation purpose, whilst also showing off this important sculpture in all it's glory. Rodin loved to capture each work as it progressed over time, as well as then recording it on display for the first time. There are actually countless numbers of photographs taken of Rodin's The Burghers of Calais, some of which have been sold off at auction in recent years.

Eugène Druet, as he was more commonly known, was an accomplished photographer who also ran his own gallery and became useful to Rodin. He helped to organise several exhibitions of Rodin's sculptures as well as coming into his studio to photograph some of the artworks. He is also known to have photographed some of the works of Paul Gauguin as well and became involved in a good mixture of different mediums, besides just sculpture. He again would have his name rise in prominence because of his relationship with Rodin, but was already a notable individual before they first came to meet.

Rodin remains one of the most influential sculptors in the eyes of art historians, placing him alongside the likes of Constantin Brâncuși in terms of bringing about a modernised approach to this artistic discipline. It is one of the oldest art forms, with items from old civilisations still being much celebrated, whilst those who followed on from that, such as those of the Renaissance and Baroque era including Michelangelo, Bernini and Donatello have also established their own prominent positions within the realms of art history. Rodin himself is regarded as a key contributor who helped to push things onwards once more, and these achievements and new ideas were precisely what caused his work to be considered controversial initially, being before better understood and widely applauded over time. This is the same for most innovative artists, whose work would intially be rejected because they were challenging everything that had gone before, or at least from the perspective of academics.