collection
bronze: 54,7 cm x 48 cm
1909-PPP-2

The Head of Pierre de Wissant is a monumental version of one of the burgers of Calais, the sculpture group Auguste Rodin worked on from 1884 to 1895. The theme is based on an historical event that took place in the fourteenth century, when a group of prominent citizens offered themselves to save their town, which was under siege by the English. Rodin saw this theme as an opportunity to experiment with expressive attitudes and facial expressions in a group of seven male figures. He did several versions of the burgers heads, including this so-called tête colossale of one of them, Pierre de Wissant. In 1903 Ghent city council wanted to buy a copy of the Burgers of Calais for its new museum. This proved too expensive, however, and in the end the city bought this bronze head together with the original plaster cast.