Jules-Eugène Lenepveu, Joan at the Stake in Rouen, 1886-90

Between 1886-90 Lenepveu painted a series of frescoes in the Paris Pantheon about the life of Joan of Arc. This is the last in the series and portrays her just as she is about to be burned at the stake. Joan was an illiterate teenage peasant girl who led a French army against the English in the 100 Years War, essentially embarrassing the English. She was tried by the English in court stacked against her for the crime of heresy, although one had to be a repeat offender in order to die for that crime, so they found her guilty on the crime of cross-dressing. Joan maintained that it was necessary for her to wear pants and a tunic to deter rapists. She told that an English lord tried to rape her while she was imprisoned awaiting trial. In the end she was found guilty and died in Rouen on 30 May 1431. She was later canonized as a saint and is seen as a great leader and martyr for the French people.

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