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The Execution of Joan of Arc (Le Supplice de Jeanne d'Arc), from The Story of Joan of Arc series
The Execution of Joan of Arc (Le Supplice de Jeanne d'Arc), from The Story of Joan of Arc series
Not on display
Wool, Silk; Tapestry Weave
233.7 x 429.3 cm (92 x 169 in.)
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Gift of the French Government

Exhibition History:

Panama Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, 1915
Museum of the Synodal Palace, Sens, 1922
Palais de la Légion d'Honneur, Paris, 1923
War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, 1957-1972
Five Centuries of Tapestry, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Legion of Honor, 1976
National Tour: Five Centuries of Tapestry, Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, New York, 12/3/77- 1/29/78; Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego, 5/13/78 - 7/2/78; Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, 9/13/78 - 10/29/78

The painting of Le Supplice de Jeanne d’Arc, made by Laurens for translation into tapestry, draw favorable notice in the Salon of 1904. Its picturesque quality was admired, as was the stage setting it seemed to provide for the final act of the drama. On a scaffold erected in an open square, Joan, robed in white, is guided by a hooded priest toward the steps leading to her place of execution. She hides her face in her hands. Her words are inscribed on the scroll above her head: C’EST PAR TOI, EVESQUE, QUE JE MEURS. ROUEN! ROUEN! MALHEUR A TOI (Bishop, I die because of you. Rouen! Rouen! Evil betide you!) Another scroll at the foot of the scaffold reads: ETAIEN[T] [VRAIE]S. TOUT CE QUE J’AI FAIT JE L’AI FAIT PAR L’AIDE DE DIEU (Yes! All these voices were [true]. All I have done I have done with the aid of God). Mounted men-at-arms surround the scaffold. A brilliant light from the right falls across the scaffold and reflects on their armor, as if the fire already burned. In the review stand at the left, a mitered bishop is prominent on the upper level, accompanied by other members of the clergy. Various textiles hang before them, as it for a festival. Secular witnesses fill the lower branches, and a small boy climbs up the pillar for a better look. The executioner waits on the raised brick platform at right, holding a length of rope. A large heap of brush has been laid around a stake with a transverse support. A second man stands ready with a smoking torch. The border shows thorny stems with a very few leaves and flowers at the right side. The martyr’s branch of palm is placed directly above the stake. The artist’s monogram appears at the lower right edge of the scaffold. Those of the weavers are in the left border guard, including that of Georges Maloisel, the RF (République Française), the Gobelins sign (a large G transfixed by the high-warp weaver’s pointed bobbin), and the dates 1905-07. From Anna Gray Bennett, "Five Centuries of Tapestry: The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco" (San Francisco: Chronicle Books; The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1976; repr. 1992): p. 308.