?Joan of Arc,? was painted by the French realist
artist Jules Bastien-Lepage in 1879. ?After the
province of Lorraine was lost to Germany following
the Franco-Prussian War in 1821, The Frenchmen saw
in Joan of Arc a new and powerful symbol. In
1875, Bastien-Lepage, a native of Lorraine began
to make studies for a picture of her. In the
present painting, exhibited in the Salon of 1880,
Joan is shown receiving her revelation in her
parents garden. Behind her are Saints Michael,
Margaret, and Catherine. (Caption next to
painting in The Metropolitan)?
Jules Bastien-Lepage creates a realistic
atmosphere, including a supernatural,
religious-like presence within his painting. Oil
on canvas was used to create the realistic quality
of the work. By closely examining the artist’s
technique, it is clear that he uses delicate brush
strokes in a true to life manner. The colors, and
use of light seem to be painted in a layered
fashion to give the landscape a sense of depth.
The background of the painting is a garden which
include foliage and brush that surrounds the
primary focus of the painting, Joan of Arc. The
artist put a great effort into the details of the
scene. Bastien-Lepage uses a distinct realistic
quality in his painting which is visible in each
individual leaf and branch. Various hues of earth
tones, green and brown being the most evident, are
blended together in the garden scene.
In the foreground of the painting is Joan of Arc.
She is painted with a seemingly thicker paint
technique. This makes her a more easily visible
aspect in the painting, and catches the onlookers
eye. Joan is dressed in a long brown skirt and
blue-gray shirt with white underneath which is
the typical clothing style of the 19th century.
The clothing is painted to show its wear and tear.
Her features and her figure are quite realistic.
She seems to have a calm, but troubled expression
on her face, as though she is deep in thought.
Overall she is painted in a very detailed manner.
A less visible, yet still present and important
aspect of the painting are the three figures
positioned behind Joan, and in front of the house.
The figures are somewhat transparent, and ghostly.
Their presence adds a spiritual and or religious
feeling to the scene. These three figures
presence blends into the scenery. Al three have
halos above their heads, and serene looks on
The saint on the right is dressed in what looks
to be armor. He looks brave, and as if he is
standing guard or going into battle. The middle
saint is a praying angel. She is in a dress with
a gauzy, white presence around her. This
whiteness gives her an ethereal quality which
Bastien-Lepage has painted quite effectively, and
adds to the spiritual feeling of the scene. Her
presence in the painting seems to represent
chastity and virtue. The last figure looks like a
young girl or child, who is kneeling with her face
hidden in her hands almost as if she is upset.
Perhaps Bastien-Lepage painted these three saints
not only to illustrate Joan receiving her visions,
but to illustrate the bravery, religious yet
childlike figure that she was.
Behind Joan of Arc, in the background of the
picture is a house. Bastien-Lepage painted the
house so that the masonry is visible. The house
seems to be small in size, plain, and quaint.
Surrounding the house is shrubbery, trees, and
more of the garden which is seen throughout the
This painting of Joan of Arc is very
significant. Bastien-Lepage is able to effectively
depict Joan as the true heroine that she was.
This is significant