Art: Jeanne d'Arc Statue (AKA Joan of Arc)
Sculptor: Replica of statue
by French sculptor Emmanuel Fremiet.
Date: Unveiled 4th of February 1907.
Description: Bronze statue of Jeanne
d'Arc in her battle armour on her trusty steed holding her
banner (flag) high.
Location: Outside the State
Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston St, Melbourne, Australia.
By: The Felton Bequest in 1906
Joan of Arc
Background : Joan of Arc was a
peasant girl, who believed she could save her country,
France, from the would-be English conquerors, during the
Hundred Years' War. Acting under divine guidance (or so she
believed), Joan secured the confidence of Dauphin (later King
Charles VII) and led the French army in a momentous victory at
Orleans in 1429. Whilst at Charles's coronation at Reims, she
was captured by the English and their French collaborators
and tried as a witch. Unfortunately Joan was found guilty
and promptly burned at the stake. In 1455 a retrial was ordered
and the earlier verdict against the peasant girl was
overturned. Joan not only became a national heroine but also a
legend. On May 16th, 1920 she was canonized by Pope Benedict
History: The replica statue
of Jeanne d'Arc by Emmanuel Fremiet was acquired by the Felton
Bequest in 1906 on the recommondation of Bernard Hall, the
Director of the Gallery of Victoria. The statue was a second
version of the original gilded bronze equestrian statue which
is located in Place des Pyramides, Paris and was made from
a plaster mould. The original statue was commissioned in
1874 by Napoleon III and was intended to help re-establish
French confidence following their humiliating military defeat
to the Prussian army, in 1870. The statue was later replaced by
the unhappy sculptor, Emmanuel Fremiet, who believed the horse
was disproportional to Joan (read more in
Trivia further down the page) and would
always look the other way whenever he passed it. In 1899
Fremiet was informed that his statue was
under threat by ongoing underground repairs to the street.
Seizing the opportunity he brought the sculpture back to his
studio and began fixing his mistakes. He made Joan 20cm taller
and made the horse's neck thinner, changed the forehead and
removed the rear harness.
Where Are The
Replica's ?: There have been several replica's
cast of the Jeanne d'Arc Statue. One can be found
in Portland, Oregon,
(Laurelhurst) which was erected as a tribute to the fallen
soldiers of World War I and was cast in 1924. Another can
be found in New Orleans, Louisiana on
Decatur Street, French Quarter. It was erected in 1972 and was
a gift from the People of France to the City of New Orleans.
Yet another in Philadelphia was
erected in 1890 at the Girard Avenue bridge. It was relocated
in 1960, to its current location near the Philadelphia Museum
Trivia: It could be argued that
Emmanuel Fremiet's great knowledge of the animal form led
to his unfortunate habit of never being satisfied with his
work. A true perfectionist, he was extremely irritated with the
original Jeanne d'Arc statue. Stating that he thought the horse
was not of the same scale as the rider. In 1889 the City of
Nancy requested a reproduction of the statue. This gave him the
opportunity to reduce the size of the horse and make a few
other changes, including adding a muzzle to hide the horse's
head and removing the harness around the rear. The new and
improved reproduction, led to the removal of the original
statue in Paris. Oh yes the Jeanne d'Arc is not the original!
It is in fact a copy of the city of Nancy's statue (who knew?).
It was replaced about 10 years after it was first erected.
However this didn't go unnoticed, creating a stir amongst the
people of France and his peers, who believed an artist should
never modify a work already displayed in public.
The model for Joan was Marianna Mattiocco, the
wife of Australian painter Peter Russell.
The Melbourne replica, unlike the original, is
Following the canonization of Joan in 1920
the French statue, became a place of pilgrimage for the
royalist and traditionalist parties of France.
The New Orleans statue, known as the
"Maid of Orleans" was originally sent to the city in
1958 by Robert Whyte of the World House in New York.
Unfortunately, when Joan arrived, the city couldn't
foot the $35,000 price tag to erect it and it was placed in
storage for eight years. In 1960, Charles DeGaulle (then
President of France) visited New Orleans and simply fell in
love with the city. On his return to France, DeGaulle,
contacted a few citizens in both France and New
Orleans, requesting they invest in a fund to erect the statue.
In 1972, it was finally removed from storage and placed on a
17-foot pedestal on the Place de France at the foot of Canal
Street (later to be relocated to the French Quarter following
the building of a casino and lengthy legal actions). In 1985
the statue was gilded.