Joan of Arc, Ingres

Joan of Arc, Ingres
Joan of Arc, Ingres

Joan of Arc at the Coronation of Charles VII is one of the last canvases by the French artist Ingres. In reality, this is a canvas often unknown to the general public, more accustomed to the works of Ingres whose theme is based on portraits or female nudes cultivated by the artist in works such as The Turkish Bath or The Great Odalisque. However, the French also made some historical-themed canvases like the one here.

Jeanne d'Arc au sacre du roi Charles VII, dans the cathedrale de Reims (1854)

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780 – 1867) is one of the artists who is most difficult to classify within a certain artistic trend, his canvases fluctuate continuously between neoclassical purism and aesthetic sentimentality romantic. Born into an artistic family, his father was a minor sculptor who soon learned to appreciate and value his son's talent. His training began at the Toulouse Academy from where he moved to Paris to complete his career, there he trained at the Academy but also received instruction from one of the great painters of the time Jacques Louis David, despite the pictorial conception of Ingres was much newer than that of his teacher so he soon abandoned his teachings.

Ingrestraveled to Italythanks to one of the Rome Scholarships granted by the Academy, there he was able to meet thegreat classics and from then on he spent a large part of his life in Italy. During these trips or stays in Italy, the artist made a good number of works like the one we are dealing with here. The work of Joan of Arc at the coronation of Charles VII in the Reims Cathedral is a large oil on canvas in vertical size, almost two and a half meters high and more than one meter seventy wide, which is currently exhibited in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

This is a canvas of history, included in the traditional division of painting as a major genre. Within this theme, a subgenre emerged known as troubadour painting when the painters of French Romanticism turned their eyes to a non-classical past and which Ingres also echoes in this canvas.

Ingres presents us with a scene in which Joan of Arc is standing in the foreground, holding a standard in her right hand while her left rests on a richly carved altar. The scene takes place in Reims Cathedral, where the monarch's coronation took place. The heroine appears dressed in the typical medieval armor that is visible in the upper half of her but that appears hidden behind a skirt in the lower part. Juana lifts her eyes up, thus offering her victory over the English to divine help. Behind Joan of Arc there are various figures praying among whom we can recognize the artist himself among the parishioners or the monk Jean Paquerel.

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