Joan of Arc in French Art and Culture (1700�1855) From Satire to Sanctity
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In her meticulous and wide-ranging study, Nora M. Heimann follows the metamorphosis of Joan of Arc's posthumous representation during the years in which her image ascended from relative obscurity as a minor provincial figure in the middle ages through her treatment as a figure of political satire in the eighteenth century to her ultimate emergence as an image of piety and sanctity in the mid-nineteenth century. Offering the first scholarly art historical and cultural analysis of the origins of the modern Joan of Arc cult, she takes on the challenge of charting, as no previous critic has, why and how the Maid of Orl‘s has been all things to such a diverse public through the ages, particularly during the rapid shifts in political regimes that came in the wake of the French Revolution. Joan of Arc's image has shown a protean capacity to embody a vast and often contradictory range of qualities, from martial ascendancy to vulnerable piety, from maidenly purity to transgressive androgyny, from the power of the people to the divine right of kings. Heimann makes a persuasive case for this enduringly resonant woman as the only figure in French culture to be warmly embraced simultaneously by republicans, monarchists, feminists, and neo-fascists alike. In its recounting of the iconographic fortunes of this remarkable woman during her transformation from an image of satire to one of sanctity, Joan of Arc in French Art and Culture (1700-1855) offers an illustrated, interdisciplinary depiction of the relationship between art and politics that will appeal not only to art historians but also to those working in literature, women's studies, cultural studies, intellectual history, and religious history.
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