The legend of Jeanne d’Arc: illustrations by Gravelot for Voltaire’s La Pucelle d’Orleans (1762)

Foulkes, Tamsin (2011). The legend of Jeanne d’Arc: illustrations by Gravelot for Voltaire’s La Pucelle d’Orleans (1762). University of Birmingham. M.Phil.


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This study examines Voltaire’s (1694-1778) poem La Pucelle d’Orléans (The Maid of Orléans) of 1762 and the accompanying illustrations by Gravelot (1699-1773) as an adaptation of the fifteenth-century legend of Jeanne d'Arc (1412-31). The original narrative tells of Jeanne who led the French army of Charles VII to victory against the English in alliance with Burgundians in the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453). This thesis argues that Voltaire and Gravelot dramatically altered this original narrative to make points with eighteenth-century significance. It examines the ways in which Voltaire and Gravelot were drawing upon eighteenth-century discourses on gender and class, and those concerning the French monarchy and the Catholic Church. In particular, this study offers an insight into how Gravelot’s illustrations conveyed his understanding of Voltaire’s poem to an eighteenth-century audience. The relationship between the text and the images for the 1762 edition of La Pucelle has been overlooked by previous scholarship. It shows how Gravelot’s illustrations were more than a supporting tool for the poem and that they played an important role in heightening the readers’ understanding and enjoyment of Voltaire’s La Pucelle d’Orléans.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Phil.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Phil.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: N Fine Arts > ND Painting


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