Joan of Arc



Jehanne: Portraits of a Saint


Rouen Hope in God Mother Mary Say a Mass for Me

Hope in God

Subject: Joan of Arc by Real de Sarte
Location: Saint Joan of Arc Church
Portrait: purchase options

Then: "Hope in God. If you have good hope and faith in Him, you shall be delivered from your enemies." Joan of Arc, April 1429

Now: Outside the Sainte Jeanne d'Arc church is this touching effigy. It portrays Joan of Arc's final moments at the burning stake... when she again placed all of her hope in God.


Saint Joan of Arc Church

Subject: Saint Joan of Arc Church
Location: Old Market Square
Portrait: available upon request

Then: Architect Louis Arretche honored the tradition used in many old churches of giving the building the shape of an upturned boat. The roof represents scales made of slate and copper. Inside, the wooden structure is visible above the nave. The massive stained glass windows date from the Renaissance (1520-1530) and were saved in 1944 from the bombing of the nearby ancient Saint Vincent's church. The windows were reset here. The church stands in what used to be the "Vieux-Marché", or Old Market Square, of Joan's time where there were executions, public humiliations and... a market. The medieval market tradition remains today with two large covered market halls selling fish and meats and the like.

Now: The Old Market Square is an interesting juxtaposition of an ancient open air market and a contemporary memorial preserving the location where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake and the foundation of Saint Sauveur's church where Brother Isambert de la Pierre went to fetch the cross he held out to Joan at the stake. The centerpiece is the church. The Sainte Jeanne d'Arc Church is strikingly different from Gothic tradition. Its non-cruciform design is invitingly compact and modest. Visitors are welcome. If you look closely in the bottom-right of the picture, you can see the statue featured in "Hope in God" and "Summoned By God".


Summoned By God

Subject: Joan of Arc by Real de Sarte
Location: Saint Joan of Arc Church
Portrait: available upon request

Then: Witnesses attest that during the last minutes of her life, Joan prayed unceasingly before her executioners, asking for mercy on their souls, repeating that her Voices were true and coming from God. When the flames reached her, she called for Holy Water and then spoke her final words, "Jhesus, Jhesus!"

Now: The statue of Joan of Arc by Real de Sarte dates from 1926. It is backed into an alcove created by the stone walls of the Church of Saint Joan of Arc. Its vertical lines are flowing and passionate. The statue is adorned with various seasonal flowers. On this visit, there were subtle tulips at her feet, leaving the stone statue coolly framed in undecorated stone.


Say a Mass for Me

Subject: Joan of Arc
Location: Saint Joan of Arc Church
Portrait: purchase options

Then: Saint Joan of Arc was burnt alive in the Old Market Square in Rouen, France on the morning of May 30, 1431, pronounced a heretic, relapse and idolater. Her ashes were gathered and thrown into the Seine River. According to witnesses present at her execution, during the final moments of her life she saw several priests with tears in their eyes. Turning to them she said, "All you priests who are here, I beg you to say a Mass for me, every one of you."

Now: Inside the Saint Joan of Arc Church is this contemporary dedication. The intelligent overhead lighting emphasizes its uniqueness, while the traditional candelabrum artistically compliments the form. By pulling away from the subject, I tried to capture all these elements. The result is a poignant photograph of Joan of Arc that is somberly uplifting.


Rouen Streets

Subject: Ancient abbey
Location: Downtown
Portrait: available upon request

Then: Joan of Arc was captured by Burgundian soldiers outside the city of Compiègne about six o'clock in the evening on May 23, 1430. She was sold to the English for 10,000 francs and taken to Rouen, a region loyal to the English.

Now: Tight stretches of ancient streets are still found in downtown Rouen today. Although cities have integrated infrastructure over the years, it is easy to visualize this street as Joan may have seen it over 500 years ago.


The Maid's Tower

Subject: Tour Jeanne d'Arc
Location: Site of Château de Philippe Auguste
Portrait: available upon request

Then: It was in one of the towers, later named the Maid's Tower, of the old Bouvreuil castle that Joan of Arc was imprisoned at the end of 1430. The tower had three floors. Joan was kept on the middle floor, which consisted of one single room the diameter of which was forty-three paces. She emerged from it only to go into the Saint-Romain chapel where her trial began, or into the Parement chamber adjoining the great hall where public interrogations were conducted. She was inside the keep only once, on May 9th, 1431, when she was faced with instruments of torture before being led to the cemetery of Saint-Oue for the abjuration procedure. On May 30th, 1431 she left the castle on her way to her execution.

Now: The Joan of Arc Tower museum is a little out of the way and much less visited than other landmarks. It is actually a reconstruction on the spot where the original tower existed as part of the Philippe Auguste Château where Henry VI resided. You can certainly get a feel for Joan's imprisonment as you follow the narrow spiral staircase to Joan's chamber.


Notre-Dame Rouen

Subject: Notre-Dame Cathedral
Location: Rouen
Portrait: available upon request

Then: The Cathédrale Notre-Dame is the largest in Rouen. It was started in the 12th century, demolished by fire and eventually finished in the 16th century. It has been made famous by Claude Monet's "Cathedral Series" paintings of the uneven towers of the west façade where color is emphasized over contour. The cast iron spire in this picture of the south façade was added in 1876 and has been struck by lighting and rebuilt several times. The cathedral itself was heavily damaged during World War II and restorations have been going on for more than 50 years.

Now: The west façade of Cathédrale Notre-Dame of Rouen is fantastically bold with its uneven towers and delicate tracery. However, it is virtually impossible to photograph its entirety without distortion because it is situated among tight city streets. So, I settled for this photo of the south façade which is less dramatic. The open air market of fresh fruits and vegetables under the red canopy was a treat.


Clear Devastation

Subject: Central nave and clerestory
Location: Notre-Dame Cathedral, Rouen
Portrait: available upon request

Then: The central nave of the cathedral boasts a rib vault ceiling reaching over 100 feet. Notice how the row of windows below the ceiling is clear glass? The original stained glass was destroyed during World War II and has never been replaced.

Now: I resisted the urge to make this photo a black and white. I could not get past the atypical, yet beautiful rust color of the vaulted ceiling. The color creates a "layered" feel to the photo as the pointed arches, the windows of the clerestory and the ribbed ceiling fade away from the upper-right to the lower-left of the photograph.


Mother Mary

Subject: Statue of Mother Mary and baby Jesus
Location: Notre-Dame Cathedral, Rouen
Portrait: purchase options

Then: Every Saturday, Joan of Arc's devotion took her two miles from home to a chapel in Greux, dedicated to the Mother Mary.

"...she went often and of her own will to church and the sacred places and often she was ashamed because of people remarking how she went so devoutly to church." Régine Pernoud

Now: Despite the overwhelming gray light splashed across the walls of the cathedral, this portrait of the Mother Mary and baby Jesus is cast in warm rusty light with a cool bluish backdrop. It adorns one of many apsidal chapels in the Cathédrale Notre-Dame of Rouen which is dedicated, of course, to the Virgin Mother Mary.


Jesus Maria

Subject: Joan of Arc altar
Location: Notre-Dame Cathedral, Rouen
Portrait: available upon request

Then: "The sword was in the earth, all rusty, and there were upon it five crosses and I knew it by my voices..." Joan of Arc

Now: Ironically, this portrait captures the cold and gray feel of the Rouen cathedral with this statue of Joan of Arc burning at the stake. Strangely, she looks cold upon the altar. Even more unusual is her sword prominently displayed splitting the names of Jesus and Mary. Indeed, an odd composition, this is how the city that killed a saint elects to portray her in their grandest cathedral.


view the Joan of Arc SPECIALS >>

|Home|   |Back to Top|   |Contact Us|   |Copyright ©|   |Privacy Policy|   |Site Map|

Website design by Sojourn Photography