(1776 - 1842) | 931.16.3
Date : 1819 | Medium : Oil on canvas
‘I am certain that these English will put me to death, thinking, after I am gone, to gain the Kingdom of France. But were they a hundred thousand gluttons more than they are at present, they would not possesses the kingdom,' says Joan of Arc, defying the traitor Jean de Luxembourg. 'The Earl of Stafford, indignant, half unsheathed his dagger, but the Earl of Warwick, seizing his arm, prevented the execution of his purpose.’ (Memoirs of Jeanne d'Arc by William Henry Ireland, 1824.) In her gloomy prison tower, she stands up to the Burgundians and the English who have come to see her in the presence of her jailer and his five brigand guards.
A concern for historical accuracy (the torn garment hem, raggedy sheet, straw, shackles, crust of bread, pitcher, broken bottles and pointed shoes) is combined with the simple symbolism of the innocent girl with the white panache, dressed in royalist colours, rising up in the light before a central column. This work, painted in a restricted palette of cool colours, belongs to the 'troubadour" genre – halfway between story and history – and sets out to move viewers through the power of virtue.