Joan of Arc

  • Sculptor: Anna Hyatt Huntington
  • Pedestal: John V. Van Pelt
  • Dedicated: 1915
  • Medium and size: Bronze (11 feet), granite pedestal (13.5 feet)
  • Location: Riverside Drive and West 93rd Street
  • Subway: 1, 2, 3 to 96th Street

 Joan of Arc

Picturing Joan

Joan of Arc 
in MS

Above: The earliest known image of Joan is in the margin of this manuscript from 1429, where she bears her pennant and sword.

Bastien 
Lepage Joan

Above: One of the eeriest images is Jules Bastien Lepage’s painting of 1879, in which Joan stops in mid-motion as she hears voices from the barely visible figures behind her.

Why Is Joan in New York?

This sculpture was commissioned in 1914 to mark the five-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Joan of Arc (1412-1431). Incorporated within the base are stones from Joan's prison at Rouen and a shattered pilaster from the Cathedral of Rheims. With World War I under way and France invaded yet again, its unveiling in 1915 became a salute to the spirit of France and to Franco-American friendship – as Lafayette and the Statue of Liberty had been in the 19th century.

When this sculpture was dedicated, Joan had been declared venerable and then blessed by the Catholic Church (1904 and 1908). In 1920 she was declared a saint.

Anna Hyatt Huntington

Huntington (1876-1973), a native of Cambridge, Massachusetts, is renowned for her animal sculptures. Joan of Arc, 1915, was her first major commission. In 1923 she married railroad heir Archer Huntington and came to share his passion for Spain, producing an ensemble for the Hispanic Society of America courtyard that includes the Cid, 1936, reliefs of Don Quixote and Boabdil, and numerous animals native to Spain. Manhattan also has her Marti, 1959. The Bronx has the Arabella Huntington Memorial (Woodlawn Cemetery.)

Many of Huntington’s works are on view at Brookgreen Gardens (Pawley's Island, S.C.), which she and her husband founded in 1931 as a showplace for American figurative sculpture.

Cross References

  • On World War I (a.k.a. the Great War), see Father Francis P. Duffy.
  • Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan includes 3 very different versions of Joan's story (Schiller, Shaw, and Twain); Appendix A ("How to Read a Sculpture") includes a discussion of the theme of Joan of Arc.

Copyright (c) 2013 Dianne L. Durante