1841-1905 | French Jeanne d'Arc enchaînée(Joan of Arc in Chains)
Inscribed “Vous avez pu m’enchaîner, vous n’enchaînerez jamais la Fortune de France”
Bears Susse Freres foundry mark
Crafted of bronze, this sculpture captures a stoic Joan of Arc with her wrists chained together. Designed and executed by Louis-Ernest Barrias at the turn of the 20th century, the iconic image of the beloved hero is a reminder of the glory of France and the bravery of her people.
Remembered as a military leader who helped expel the English from France, the story of Joan of Arc is deeply embedded in French national myth. Born a peasant girl in a small village, Joan believed she had been conscripted by God and the Archangels to aid the King in France in reconquering his kingdom. She was granted a small army to raise the siege of Orléans in 1429, leading to victory. After her execution three years later in 1431, at only the age of nineteen, Joan quickly became regarded as a martyr for her faith and country.
At the time of this sculpture's inception, there was a reinvigoration in attention to Joan and her victories. Not only had beatification proceedings for Joan had just begun within the Catholic Church, but mere decades prior, Napoleon Bonaparte had encouraged the renewal of Joan's festival in Orléans and the erection of a monument in her name. He stated of her military achievements: “There is no miracle French genius cannot perform... The French nation has never known defeat.” With a patriotic inscription reading Vous avez pu m’enchaîner, vous n’enchaînerez jamais la Fortune de France
, which translates to "You were able to chain me, but you will never chain the Fortune of France," Barrias has created a masterful sculpture of national pride and defiance even in the face of certain death. Though she remains chained, Joan’s determined expression demonstrates her boundless bravery and strength of conviction.
Louis-Ernest Barrias, the son of a porcelain painter and brother of painter Félix-Joseph Barrias, began his artistic career in painting before attending École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1858. It was there that he took up sculpture under teachers Pierre-Jules Cavelier and François Jouffroy. His first major success came in 1865, when Barrias won the distinguished Prix de Rome for his attendance at the French Academy in Rome. He went on to work on many prestigious projects, from decorating the Paris Opéra and the Hôtel de la Païva on the Champs-Élysées, founding the Susse foundry and becoming a commander of the Legion of Honour by 1900.A larger version of Barrias’s Jeanne d'Arc enchaînée resides today in Bonsecours at a memorial to the great French champion
, overlooking the city of Rouen.
Late 19th century
28“ high x 7 1/2” wide x 8 1/2“ deep