ueno koen: museum of western art


While I didn’t spend any time inside the National Museum of Western Art, I did wander around in the sculpture garden, which is full of Rodin sculptures, including “The Thinker,” “The Burghers of Calais,” and “The Gates of Hell” — a veritable trifecta! “The Burghers of Calais” is one of Rodin’s most incredible pieces, and there is an unbelievable human emotionality that can be found in every detail of this monument to the six burghers who agreed to sacrifice themselves to lift Edward III’s siege on Calais. They were forced to emerge from the city dressed in rags, with nooses tied around their necks, carrying the keys to the city. It’s a brilliant work, and I’ve seen it in Calais, at the MET in New York, and now in Ueno Koen (apparently only 12 casts were permitted to be made after Rodin’s death). You can also find Antoine Bourdelle‘s “Heracles the Archer” here, the archer poised with his bow, ready to launch the angular modernism of the early 20th century.


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