“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Joan of Arc

Riverside Park

Joan of Arc Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, March 29, 2012
1. Joan of Arc Marker
      This impressive bronze equestrian sculpture of 15th century French patriot and martyr Joan of Arc (1411-1431) is one of the finest works of art in the Parks collection. Created by the eminent artist and art patron Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington (1876-1973), the piece was dedicated in 1915.

      Jeanne La Pucelle, later known as Joan of Arc, was a peasant maiden said to have been divinely inspired to help liberate the French from English rule. Through her determination, she was able to gain an audience with the Dauphin of France, later to be King Charles VII, at the time when the city of Orleans was under siege. Charles appointed her commander-in-chief of a small provisional army, which under her inspired command forced the English to withdraw in 1429. With the siege lifted, the Dauphin was crowned in Reims Cathedral, with Joan seated in the place of honor next to him.

      Though a popular figure, Joan was restrained by the new King from marching on Paris. In 1430, while conducting an unofficial campaign, she was captured by Burgundian soldiers at Compiegne, and sold to the English, who charged her with witchcraft and heresy. She was subjected to a long trial in a French ecclesiastical court presided over by the Bishop of Beauvais, and was eventually found guilty and condemned to death. On May 31, 1431, she
Marker on Riverside Drive image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, March 29, 2012
2. Marker on Riverside Drive
was burned at the stake. Twenty years later an investigation into Joan’s trial proceedings led to the annulment of her sentence. On May 16, 1920, nearly 500 years later, Jeanne la Pucelle was canonized as Saint Joan by Pope Benedict XV.

      The exploits of this heroine from the Middle Ages have been revisited by authors and artists ever since her death. Among the many notable works surrounding her myth are Mark Twain’s novel The Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (1896), a fictionalized account of her life, playwright George Bernard Shaw’s political play Saint Joan (1923), and Carl-Theodor Dreyer’s landmark silent film, The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928).

      In New York, a prominent group of citizens formed a Joan of Arc monument committee in 1909. Their efforts coincided with those of a young sculptor, Anna Hyatt Huntington, to create a sculpture of Joan. Her first version, in which she emphasized “the spiritual rather than the warlike point of view,” was submitted to the prestigious Salon in Paris. It received an honorable mention from the jury, nevertheless skeptical that such an accomplished work of art could have been made solely by a woman.

      The New York monument committee, headed by J. Sanford Saltus, was so impressed by her work, that they awarded her the commission. Architect John van Pelt was retained to design the pedestal,
Joan of Arc Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, March 29, 2012
3. Joan of Arc Marker
The statue of Joan of Arc is seen here behind the marker.
which is made of Mohegan granite composed of Gothic-style blind arches, decorated with coats of arms. A few limestone blocks from the tower in Rouen where Joan of Arc had been imprisoned were incorporated into the base. Van Pelt situated the monument at the top of the steps in the park island at 93rd Street and Riverside, and had planted a screen of trees to shield the statue from the buildings behind it.

      Huntington’s version is both heroic and infused with naturalistic detail. For Joan’s armor, she conducted research at the arms and armory division of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the refinement of the equine anatomy was based on a horse borrowed from the fire department of her native town of Gloucester, Massachusetts. Her niece posted astride a barrel, as she modeled the figure, first nude, then in costume.

      On December 6, 1915, the sculpture was unveiled in an elaborate ceremony, which included a military band and French Ambassador Jean J. Jusserand. Mrs. Thomas Alva Edison was among those selected to pull the cord that released the shroud. Huntington went on to have a long and illustrious career, and also sculpted the statue of the Cuban patriot, Jose Marti (1965), which stands at Central Park South and Avenue of the Americas. A replica of Joan of Arc stands in front of the Palace of the Legion of Honor in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.

Joan of Arc image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, March 29, 2012
4. Joan of Arc
      In 1939, Parks repaired Joan’s sword, which had been broken, repatined the bronze statue, and repaired the staircase. In 1987, the sculpture again underwent a full conservation financed by the Grand Marnier Foundation through the Municipal Art Society’s Adopt-A-Monument Program,

City of New York Parks & Recreation
Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor
August 2008

Erected 2008 by City of New York Parks & Recreation.
Location. 40° 47.649′ N, 73° 58.59′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker is at the intersection of Riverside Drive and W 93rd Street, on the right when traveling north on Riverside Drive. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10025, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Joan of Arc (here, next to this marker); Barnett Newman (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Elizabeth Cady Stanton (approx. 0.2 miles away); Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Monument (approx. 0.2 miles away); Teresa Carreño (approx. 0.2 miles away); George Herman "Babe" Ruth (approx. ¼ mile away); Fire Horses (approx. 0.4 miles away); Firemen’s Memorial (approx. 0.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in New York.
Categories. Notable Persons
Joan of Arc Statue image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, March 29, 2012
5. Joan of Arc Statue
Closeup of Joan of Arc image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, March 29, 2012
6. Closeup of Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc Unveiled in New York image. Click for full size.
By Bain News Service, December 6, 1915
7. Joan of Arc Unveiled in New York
Joan of Arc Statue Replica in San Francisco image. Click for full size.
April 18, 2009
8. Joan of Arc Statue Replica in San Francisco
As indicated on the marker, a replica of the statue stands on the grounds of the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. However, contrary to the marker text, both the Palace of the Legion of Honor and the statue are in Lincoln Park, not Golden Gate Park.
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 836 times since then and 101 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   7. submitted on .   8. submitted on . This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Paid Advertisement