Monday, 18 October 2021

Further Research: Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres painted 'Joan of Arc on Coronation of Charles VII in the Cathedral of Reims' in 1854. The painting is in the Louvre Museum in Paris. (Image credit: Public domain)

 Before continuing upon my Journey with Joan of Arc I need to discover more about her life and death as this project is about warriors. Joan of Arc (born c. 1412, Domrémy, Bar, France—died May 30, 1431, Rouen; canonized May 16, 1920; feast day May 30; French national holiday, second Sunday in May) was a peasant girl who believed that she was acting under 'divine guidance' (Lanhers, 2021) to defeat the English during the Hundred Years War.  When she was 16 years old she Joan travelled in May 1428 from Domrémy to Vaucouleurs, to speak to the captain of the garrison, Robert de Baudricourt, for permission to join the dauphin. She was not taken seriously however her determination and piety meant that eventually she earned the respect of the people and the captain and she managed not to be considered a witch or mentally unstable, which was quite a feat for a woman at this time.  

Joan dressed in men's clothes she went with six men to propose her battle plans against the English to the King.   Eventually, an army was mounted however Joan did not engage in active combat she was more a mascot but she was responsible for military strategies 'directing troops and proposing diplomatic solutions to the English (all of which they rejected). Despite her distance from the front lines, Joan was wounded at least twice, taking an arrow to the shoulder during her famed Orléans campaign and a crossbow bolt to the thigh during her failed bid to liberate Paris.' (Cohen, 2021)

Joan of Arc believed she was being directed in her mission by the saints, particularly; St. Michael, St. Catherine of Alexandria, and St. Margaret of Antioch.  Joan of Arc also was known to have a short temper and often disciplined knights and soldiers 'for swearing, behaving indecently, skipping Mass or dismissing her battle plans; she even accused her noble patrons of spinelessness in their dealings with the English.' (Cohen, 2021) At her trial 'when a clergyman with a thick regional accent asked what language her voices spoke, for instance, she retorted that they spoke French far better than he did.'  (Cohen, 2021)  

When she was captured she tried to escape by jumping out of a window into a moat, however, she was knocked unconscious and not seriously hurt.  It was decided she would be tried as a heretic as she claimed to be hearing the voices of the saints and God and she did not act in accordance with the church.  'Further, her trial might serve to discredit Charles VII by demonstrating that he owed his coronation to a witch or at least a heretic.' (Lanhers, 2021) Her trial was complicated and originally there were over 70 charges, Joan refused to answer or clarify points. Eventually, the charges were reduced to 12 and she was threatened with torture if she did not answer these.  However it was decided that she would not respond to torture, she was then sentenced.  (One of the charges was wearing male clothes and, originally she was sentenced to life imprisonment and she seemed to be following the rules one of which was to wear women's clothes, she put these on but days later she was found again wearing men's clothing.  It was decided with that and her continuous relapsing into speaking to the saints and for treason she was handed over to secular authorities where she was sentenced to death by burning at the stake.  'The verdict was never in doubt. 'Her side saw her as a holy virgin, her enemies as a polluted sorceress,” Warner said. She was interrogated thoroughly, the Anglo-Burgundians tried to discredit her by questioning her virginity and linking her to magic. Even her wearing of men’s clothes was used against her, her prosecutors claiming that it was against the natural order of things' (Jarus, 2013) Her last words were 'Jesus, Jesus, Jesus'

You can watch the story here..

Joan's story here will help to inform my work, in the piece I am creating I am trying to visually express devout faith and a spirit that would not be broken.  Her unfaltering belief in her mission and her unwavering faith in God that was tested through her imprisonment and trial and through the battles that she directed. She did not falter and this spirit is why she became the Patron Saint of France.  


Lanhers, Y., 2021. Joan of Arc | Biography, Death, Accomplishments, & Facts. [online] Encyclopedia Britannica. Available at: <> [Accessed 18 October 2021].

 Cohen, J., 2021. 7 Surprising Facts About Joan of Arc. [online] HISTORY. Available at: <> [Accessed 18 October 2021].

Jarus, O., 2013. Joan of Arc: Facts & Biography. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 18 October 2021].

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