Saint-Evre, Gillot

Bault-sur-Suippe 1791 - Paris 1858
Biography & List of works

Joan of Arc in Prison

Joan of Arc in Prison

Medium: Oil on canvas

Size: 119 x 109 cm

Signed: Lower Right: G. Saint Evre

Provenance:

Bought by Louis-Philippe, King of the French (1833); acquired by his son, Prince Antoine d’Orléans, Duke of Montpensier (catalogued in his collection in Seville, no. 352); Infanta María-Isabel, (1848-1919), Countess of Paris (on her marriage in 1864); to Prince Ferdinand d’Orléans, Duke of Montpensier (1884-1924); in 1924 to his widow, Doña María Isabel de Olañeta y Ibarreta, Duchess of Montpensier, 3rd Marquesa de Valdeterrazo & Grandee of Spain (1893-1958); in 1958, to her second husband, Exc.mo José María de Huarte y Jaurégui, Marques viudo de Valdeterrazo (d.1969): his heirs (1969-1995).

Exhibited:

Paris Salon, 1833. Also “Exposicion de Arte Romantico, Pintores romanticos franceses en Espana, Madrid, Instituto frances en Espana, 1949, no 50, pag 10. Literature: N. D. Ziff, Jeanne d’Arc and French Restoration Art, Gazette des Beaux Arts, 1979, pages 37 ff.

Inscribed on reverse “G. Saint Evre. 559.[1] Jean d’Arc en Prison.”

Gillot Saint Evre turned to painting late after a military career.  He exhibited at the Salon from 1822 to 1824 almost exclusively French historical genre scenes in the troubadour style.  Our painting relates to works by Delaroche and Révoil (see Romance and Chivalry exhibition catalogue).

Joan of Arc in Prison exemplifies the stylistic changes that Saint Évre and others brought about in the painting of history subjects from the middle of the 1820s. By contrast to the earlier troubadour style, with its abundance of detail and almost miniaturist technique, Saint Évre has limited his reconstruction of the scene to a few telling details. There is still a high degree of realism, but the dramatic impact is achieved primarily through lighting, gesture, and physiognomy. The idealization characteristic of troubadour painting has also been consciously tempered. The historic import of the scene is stressed through the inclusion of the figures looking at the young girl from the background. Saint Évre’s imprisoned Joan had many secular counterparts in Romantic painting, but she also recalls the Baroque tradition of depicting female saints.

While Joan’s execution at the hands of the English offered the kind of poignant subject that French artists and their public public found most compelling, it was her relationship with Charles VII and her triumphant role as a soldier over the occupying English that was most frequently depicted, even well beyond the Bourbon Restoration through the July Monarchy and into the Second Empire, when Ingres received an important State commission that resulted in his Joan of Arc at the Coronation of Charles VII. This over life-sized “portrait,” at once both symbolic and highly realistic, uses Joan as the personification of the joint fortunes of France and the Church.


[1] The number is the Montpensier provenance.