Image of the Jeanne d’Arc bronze statue at the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne. The statue is the work of French sculptor Emmanuel Frémiet, and is a cast of the 1899 version of his Jeanne d’Arc which stands in the Place des Pyramides in Paris. Purchased in 1906 by Bernard Hall, the Director of the National Gallery of Victoria, with funds from the Felton Bequest, it was installed at the entrance to the State Library of Victoria on 4 February 1907. The sculpture depicts the young Joan of Arc astride a war-horse, dressed in her body-armour and raising an oriflamme banner.
About Joan of Arc:
Joan of Arc was born in 1412 in the French village of Domrémy. From the age of about 12, Joan had visions of saints and heard heavenly voices that increasingly urged her to fight for France during the Hundred Years’ War. She travelled to the court of Charles De Ponthieu, the Orléanist claimant to the throne, where she was provided with a suit of armour and her distinctive banner depicting a golden fleur-de-lys. She secured a decisive military victory to rescue the city of Orléans from the Earl of Salisbury’s English army in 1429, and was present at the coronation of Charles VII. However, in May the following year Joan was captured by Burgundian forces at Compiègne, and was handed over to the English. She was tried at Rouen on charges of witchcraft and heresy, and was condemned to death. On 30 May 1431, she was executed. Two and a half decades later, the case was appealed and her conviction was overturned. She was beatified in 1909 and canonised as a saint in 1920.
For more information about this statue and its background, see Ted Gott, ‘An Iron Maiden for Melbourne – The History and Context of Emmanuel Frémiet’s 1906 Cast of Jeanne d’Arc’, The La Trobe Journal, vol.81, Autumn 2008, pp.53-68: http://www3.slv.vic.gov.au/latrobejournal/issue/latrobe-81/t1-g-t5.html.