Joan of Arc in Prison
(Gillot Saint-Evre)


After leading the French army to victory (fig. 84)[1] and making possible the coronation of Charles VII , Joan ever took place, but Delaroche clearly contrived this encounter to highlight the anti-English aspect of the story.[2]

Joan of Arc in Prison exemplifies the stylistic changes that Saint Évre and others brought about in the painting of history subjects from the middle of the 1820s. By contrast to the earlier troubadour style, with its abundance of detail and almost miniaturist technique, Saint Évre has limited his reconstruction of the scene to a few telling details. There is still a high degree of realism, but the dramatic impact is achieved primarily through lighting, gesture, and physiognomy. The idealization characteristic of troubadour painting has also been consciously tempered. The historic import of the scene is stressed through the inclusion of the figures looking at the young girl from the background. Saint Évre ‘s imprisoned Joan had many secular counterparts in Romantic painting, but she also recalls the Baroque tradition of depicting female saints.

While Joan’s execution at the hands of the English offered the kind of poignant subject that French artists and their public public found most compelling, it was her relationship with Charles VII and her triumphant role as a soldier over the occupying English that was most frequently depicted, even well beyond the Bourbon Restoration through the July Monarchy and into the Second Empire, when Ingres received an important State commission that resulted in his Joan of Arc at the Coronation of Charles VII (fig. ). This over life-sized “portrait,” at once both symbolic and highly realistic, uses Joan as the personification of the joint fortunes of France and the Church.


[1] The watercolor by Delacroix illustrated here has often been called Joan of Arc entering her Camp, but cannot be firmly identified as such.

[2] Ziff, op. cit., 1977, p. 39.

Oil on canvas

Provenance: King Louis Philippe of the French; Private Collection, France.

Where is It?
Stair Sainty Matthiesen Inc., NY
Historical Period
Neoclassicism - 1780-1820 & Romanticism - 1810-1870
Historical events
Price band
$5,000 - $50,000