Paul Delaroche: Joan of Arc Being Interrogated

Joan of Arc Being Interrogated: Paul Delaroche

French artist Paul Delaroche painted the historic scene of Joan of Arc Being Interrogated in 1824 in the French Neoclassical style.

Here we from an episode in the story of Joan of Arc who, after leading the French army to victory over the English and witnessing the coronation of Charles VII as king, was sold to the English, tried for sorcery, and was burned at the stake in Rouen at the age of 19. In 1920, Joan was canonized a saint by the catholic church.

In Joan of Arc Being Interrogated by Paul Delaroche in 1824, we see a sickly Joan being interrogated in a dungeon in Rouen by Henry Beaufort, the cardinal of Winchester who signals her damnation in the event of non-cooperation with his downward-pointing left finger. Joan, ailing on a bed of straw, clasps her hands in an attitude of prayer which also signals the holiness which would later come to be officially recognized by the church.

The cardinal’s bright red robe represents the innocent blood that will be shed. In contrast here is the almost grotesque realism with which the cardinal’s gesture and expression are painted, and the idealization of Joan.

Delaroche painted The Execution of Lady Jane Grey nine years later (1833) in a similar style.

Paul Delaroche’s Joan of Arc Being Interrogated is in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rouen, France.

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