The Call to Arms
Signed by male figure's left foot: A. Rodin Foundry mark rear center: ALEXIS RUDIER/Fondeur. PARIS.
Auguste Rodin, French, 1840 - 1917. Cast by the founder Alexis Rudier, Paris, 1874 - 1952.
Rodin submitted these figures to an 1879 competition for a monument to commemorate Parisians’ courage in defending their city against German invasion during the Franco-Prussian War. It shows the nude body of a dying French warrior leaning against a winged spirit. Although the French soul appears undeterred, the sculpture’s frank portrayal of human vulnerability and defeat may have contributed to its failure to win the contest.
After France’s victory against Germany in World War I, Rodin successfully revived the design. In 1920 it opened as a memorial in the city of Verdun, the site of the war’s longest battle.
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