Joan of Arc
Acrylic on Canvas ~ 1997
36 x 36″ ~ 92 x 92 cm
This is actually a self-portrait of me as the 19 year old female knight Joan of Arc, (Ha!), with my husband as the disreputable French King. I have always been fascinated by female knight art, and especially joan of arc art work, and her fascinating story of rising from a young peasant girl, to lead the French army into battle against the English. That there are so few women who have managed to come down as really strong figures in recorded history. There are a number of reasons for this, even up until quite recent history, female successes were usually either ignored, or attributed to their male counterparts, and of course the writing was all done by men.
In a time when peasants were seen and not heard, and women rated considerably lower down on the scale, Joan of Arc an uneducated peasant girl made a Prince, (dauphin) and his court, an army, and a disjointed country, stand up and take notice of her. Her conviction and her faith helped to unite the squabbling factions in France, to fight and defeat the English and to see their dauphin, (the weenie king), crowned as King over a united France. Then the King, who owed so much to Joan, embarrassed at having such a debt of gratitude to a mere peasant girl, cajoled Joan into remaining at the head of an ill equipped much reduced army, until she was captured by the English. After an extremely bias trial in English, which Joan could not respond to because she only spoke French, Joan of Arc was convicted of witchcraft and burned at the stake. She was the sacrificial lamb that the English could take their anger out on, and the French had abandoned.
Special thanks to Leonard Cohen for his inspirational song, Joan of Arc.