Joan of Arc political figure

Forteresse Royale de Chinon

Through the Collections of the Royal Fortress of Chinon.

Plumed Heroine of the Monarchy

At the end of the XVIIth century, Joan of Arc was used to legitimize certain political choices and boost loyalty to the throne. Cardinal Richelieu is at the origin of a gallery with twenty-five portraits of famous individuals, including three women: Joan of Arc, Marie de Médicis, and Anne of Austria. Through this project, he intended to honor those who gave their lives for king and country. The portrait of Simon Vouet which hung in the gallery was destroyed in 1940 (this painting is now attributed to Philippe de Champaigne, first painter to King Louis XIII). It is known through the engraving of the Puella Aureliaca which appeared in the book Vulson de la Colombiere in 1650. Joan of Arc is represented as a rider wearing a plumed hat, the plume being the symbol of victory. Her warrior's attributes were reduced to a parody of armor. In the XVIIIth century, on the engraving from the Blin workshop, war leader she embodies is replaced by an elegant courtesan.

A Heroine to the Royalists and Republicans

In the XIXth century, all the arts (literature, sculpture, painting ...) captured Joan of Arc. The July Monarchy was particularly interested in this allegorical figure from the French and medieval monarchy. The troubadour style reigned supreme. It was during this period that Quicherat published his Procès de condamnation et de réhabilitation de Jeanne d’Arc and Michelet devotes a section of Book V of his Histoire de France to her. In 1837, King Louis-Philippe created a museum dedicated to "all the glories of France." Joan of Arc listening to her voices, the masterpiece of his daughter Marie d'Orléans, occupiee a prominent place. Following this, Jean-François and François Rude Gechter begin following the troubadour and romantic trend. Under the Third Republic, nationalism is strengthened by the 1870 defeat and Joan of Arc becomes a republican heroine, present in every school book. She is the subject of the first memorial of the Republic, the one inaugurated by Stephen Frémiet in 1874. Joseph Fabre MP plans to establish a national Jeanne d'Arc Day, but the project did not happen due to tension with the church, culminating in 1905 with the separation of church and state . In 1896, Félix Faure inaugurated the equestrian statue by Paul Dubois, in Reims. Placed in front of the large portal, she turns her back to the cathedral.

Joan of Arc and Popular Imagery

Joan of Arc held a special place in the popular imagery of the nineteenth and early XXth century. Valuable insight into the history of societies, popular images have always been able to touch a wide audience. The North East of France is the region with the largest production centers: Epinal, Nancy, Metz, Strasbourg and Wissembourg. The best-known images are those from Epinal, mainly edited by Pinot and Pellerin companies, where Joan of Arc appeared for the first time in 1822. Thereafter, the publisher Pellerin uses famous illustrators, like Job, to represent her.

Imagery by Wentzel of Wissembourg remains unknown in France, despite an abundant and multilingual contemporary production. The combined imagery workshops of Jarville-Nancy were active later, between the XXth century and World War II.

The Church, Between Christian and Patriotic Feelings

Following the trial and conviction, and while in rehabilitation, a third trial began in 1868, instigated by Monsignor Dupanloup, bishop of Orleans. It was the canonization process of Joan of Arc. Encouraged by Pope Leo XIII in 1894, it succeeded in 1920. Meanwhile, the church was considering the establishment of a basilica in honor of Jeanne. Construction began in Domremy, her hometown, in 1881. Beatified in 1909 and canonized a year after the end of the First World War, Joan of Arc then naturally naturally found her place in all the churches of France. The cities she passed through did not wait for this form of recognition to evoke her memory. In Chinon, a stained-glass window by master glass artist from Tours, Léopold Lobin, and a marble statue by François Sicard were inaugurated in the Église Saint-Étienne in 1900. Through the art of stained glass and religious statues, the figure of Joan evokes both Christian and patriotic feelings

Joan of Arc Alongside the Poilus

During World War II, Jeanne became a symbol of French nationalism and her image was used for war propaganda. Postcards bearing her image are widely disseminated, used by the poilus for correspondence. Posters were printed to support the war effort. In France, the first of these posters were printed after the bombing of the Cathedral of Reims. In England, Bert Thomas created the first poster with the inscription: "Joan of Arc saved France, Women of Britain, Save Your Country, Buy War Saving Stamps." The slogan was used in the United States on the poster of William Haskell Coffin in 1918. The poster shows Joan in armor, in a halo of light, brandishing a sword with the inscription: "Joan of Arc saved France (...) Women of America save Your Country, Buy War Saving Stamps". Early in his career, William Haskell Coffin, represented her as a young conquering beauty. He became famous after the First World War for his Coffin-girls, the famous American pinup calendars.

Joan of Arc Captured by the Vichy Regime

At the beginning of the Vichy regime (1941), Joan of Arc was used by the Head of State's Bureau of Documentation She appeared alongside other heroes of medieval France, including Bayard and Duguesclin, to defend the concept of eternal France. Many brochures and posters are published on this theme so dear to Marshal Petain. But between 1943 and 1944, the image of Joan of Arc was used by the Vichy regime for purposes of anti-British propaganda. The French of London are not left out and a leaflet using the image of Joan of Arc was dropped by allied aircraft of the Royal Air Force in 1941

An Ever Popular Icon

Orleans has celebrated its heroine every year since 1430! The festivities take place over a week, usually from April 29 to May 8 Since the beginning of the XXth century, other cities have followed the example of Orleans and commemorate the memory of the Maid

In 1956, the 500th anniversary of the rehabilitation trial sparked renewed interest. Festivals multiplied between 1959 and 1960 and many posters were published for the occasion. Following this event, the Fortress of Chinon opened his own museum dedicated to Joan of Arc in 1961. Created at the initiative of Henry Dontenville, the museum was managed by the Conaissance de Jeanne d'Arc association and located in the clock tower. It remained there for forty-nine years, until some of the collections were moved to the Logis Royaux in June 2010. Throughout this period it was the only museum in the Fortress, much to the pleasure of Joan of Arc admirers.

Forteresse de Chinon
Credits: Story

Conseil Départemental d'Indre-et-Loire
Christophe Raimbault - CD 37
Joël Pairis - CD 37
Frédéric Casanova
Benjamin Silvestre
La Société d'Histoire de Chinon Vienne & Loire

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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