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Jeanne d’Arc by Louis-Maurice Boutet de Monvel, 1896


Above is Jeanne d’Arc (6 January c. 1412 – 30 May 1431) as depicted by Louis-Maurice Boutet de Monvel (18 October 1850 – 16 March 1913).

An angel has just appeared to tell Joan that she is to save France, whose king, Charles VII (22 February 1403 – 22 July 1461), has not been crowned.  During the Hundred Years War, fought between 1337 and 1453, parts of northern France: Guyenne, Paris and Reims, were occupied by Duke Philip III of Burgundy. After the Battle of Agincourt (1415), English King Henry V, married Catherine de Valois, the daughter of French king Charles VI.

By virtue of the Treaty of Troyes, signed on 21 May 1420, King Henry V of England and his heirs would inherit the throne of France upon the death of King Charles VI of France. Philip V died in 1422, but Catherine had given birth to a son. Although Philip VI reigned as king of England, he was nevertheless the disputed king of France.

The Siege of Orléans: a turning-point

Joan of Arc did save France. After the Siege of Orléans (1428 – 1429), Philip V‘s dream of conquering France started to crumble. The uncrowned king of France, Charles VII, was crowned at Reims. However, Charles, Duke of Orleans (24 November 1394 – 5 January 1465), who had been captured at Agincourt, in 1415, was not released until 1440. He was a prince of the blood, or possible heir to the throne of France.

When he returned to France, Charles, Duke of Orleans, married a very young Maria of Cleves. Their son, one of three children born to the couple, would reign as king Louis XII.

Joan of Arc arrested and burned at the stake

On 23 May 1430, Joan of Arc was captured at Compiègne, by members of the Burgundian faction and handed over to the English. She was accused of various crimes and tried at Rouen by the Bishop of Beauvais, Pierre Cauchon. She was convicted and burned at the stake on 31 May 1431. She had had visions, which could lead to her being accused of witchcraft or to her being deemed heretical. She had been visited by the Archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine.

Louis-Maurice Boutet de Monvel

Louis-Maurice Boutet de Monvel, Bernard’s father, was born in Orléans to an accomplished family. He was raised in Paris and studied at the Julian Academy. He was an ‘academic’ painter, but he accepted to paint posters and became an illustrator. His Jeanne d’Arc (1896) is considered his finest book, followed by his 1883 Chansons de France pour les petits Français, both published by E. Plon, Nourrit et Cie. His Jeanne à la Cour de Chinon, shown at the Exposition universelle of 1990, earned him a gold medal.

Louis-Maurice was a successful artist. His artwork was often exhibited in the United States. In c. 1911, he in fact travelled to the United States and received several commissions, but he fell ill. Louis-Maurice had contracted a bronchial ailment during the Franco-Prussian War (1870), which made a winter visit to Chicago dangerous.

He died two years later, in 1913.


Sources and Resources

Louis-Maurice Boutet de Monvel: Jeanne d’Arc
Photo credit: Internet Archives

jeannedarc00boutuoft_0006© Micheline Walker
8 January 2016