Graphite, red chalk, colored washes, and black and white gouache
Support: Blue wove paper (faded in image area to gray-green), laid down on light brown wove paper
Sheet: 18.8 x 30.3 cm (7 3/8 x 11 15/16 in.)
Bequest of Muriel Butkin 2008.358
Ernest Meisonnier found the original subject proposed for his Pantheon mural commission—Saint Geneviève—to be uninspiring and instead proposed an allegorical Triumph of France featuring Joan of Arc alongside Charlemagne and Napoleon Bonaparte, among others.
This drawing is a rare study relating to Ernest Meissonier's never-realized mural for the Pantheon in Paris. After seeking and receiving the commission in 1874, Meisonnier procrastinated on the project for many years. Here, the French heroine Joan of Arc appears at center, without a helmet, on a bare white horse, staring ahead with steadfast calm. The figure of Joan in this drawing appears to correspond to the subject in a now-lost design for the complete painting, which Meissonier presented in 1889.
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