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Joan of Arc by DonatoArts Joan of Arc by DonatoArts
600 years ago this year, Joan of Arc was born in a small town in France. Little did her parents realize that she would become one of the most famous women in all of human history. What makes this more remarkable is that her deeds span just two short years, from the arrival at the court of Charles VI at age 17 to her martyrdom at the burning stake in 1431. Her military campaign against the English and Burgundians encompassed just a single year!

What makes Joan interesting for me is not just her deeds in unifying her countrymen, but also her integrity as a person of belief, strength and drive. As the father of two girls, I relish the chance to point to such role models and state 'See what you can do?!'

The desire to create a work of art about Joan has been playing itself out periodically in my sketchbook ever since a visit to France over a decade ago (Thank you Wizards of the Coast for sending me to exotic realms to sign at Magic tournaments!) Thus when we were preparing to create another step by step film on my painting process back in May, the subject of Joan of Arc was front and center as the number one choice for the painting. Really there wasn't even a runner up - I know it had to be a work on the Maid of Orleans.

From the very beginning I wanted to create a work which illuminated the complexities of the politics into which Joan was cast. It was a turbulent time in France in the early 15th Century, Henry the V has just decimated the French at Agincourt and King Charles was one of the weakest rulers in decades. The identity of a French nation was still not solidified with the Burgundians casting their lot with the English. The Church felt threatened from the new nation states and were ever watchful for heretical movements which could undermine its authority. How to put all that into one painting?

You can't, but you can suggest what might be at play.

I am happy to announce that I have posted the results to my website and have included a few extra progress shots and details of the work here. As I have done in recent works for commercial commissions, it was my intent to use ambiguity to stress the complexities of the political forces which shaped Joan of Arc.

Are we here at her moment of triumph at Orleans embraced by a sympathetic French Nobleman? Or at her capture outside of Compiegne a little over a year later by the Burgundians? Is the Clergyman bowing in awe and prayer, or attempting to strip Joan of the symbol of her Faith? Is that arm supporting the banner, or pulling it down?

As the artist, even I do not know the answers, as we may never know the intent of others. All we may do is act upon our own beliefs in what we feel is right:

"One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying." - Joan of Arc

Happy Birthday Joan!
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:iconcalucifer13:
Calucifer13 Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2018  Professional Traditional Artist
This is like from the Sistine Chapel.
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:icondawgxdenta:
dawgXdenta Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Bravo
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:iconstudio-echelon:
Studio-Echelon Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You know, I think this is the only piece of art I've seen so far...in my whole life...that literally moves so much that I want to look at it, keep looking at it, and cry. There's such a scene and drama, and the melancholy is so strong. It's amazing. 

This belongs in museums, like, a museum tour- global.
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:iconlanasy:
Lanasy Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
This piece speaks to deeply to me. I often wonder how much of her story is true and how much legend, but regardless, she has been an inspiration for many women around the world. My dad raised me "like a boy" because he didn't want to me to ever feel I was not good enough to do something. I've held on to that throughout my life and it's given me strength in some hard times. Joan of Arc is a character that reflects that sentiment.


It could just be my ego speaking but your portrayal of her also happens to look like me... I am french so I guess it makes sense Sweating a little... 
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:icondanceshadowmoon:
Danceshadowmoon Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2017
Amazing Artwork! 
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:iconkamikonekocosplay:
KamiKonekoCosplay Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2016  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
This looks amazing, the colours, the shading and movement in obe picture. Absolutely stunning!
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:iconalakuloinen:
Alakuloinen Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Aside of all the greatnesses of this work I can't help noticing one photometric (and maybe geometric) issue - her right arm between the rightmost grasping hands looks an inch thick...
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:iconfr0su:
Fr0su Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2016  Student Digital Artist
man i love all your work so much every piece ive seen so far is executed so well. Cant imagine how many hours of hard work you ivested to get a skillset like this. Really great job!  
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:iconmomado:
momado Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2016
It seems Caravaggio in the movement! nice execution.
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:iconrerses12:
Rerses12 Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2016
Michel-Ange reborn !
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:iconlordelthibar:
LordElthibar Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2016
Was this when she was wounded at Orleans?
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:iconrerses12:
Rerses12 Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2016
When she captured by the Burgundians ,  i think .
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:iconcaterbug:
CaterBug Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm not a Catholic, but Joan of Arc was quite an amazing woman in her time. Also, it isn't very often when we see the affluence of women throughout history.
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:iconengeance:
engeance Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2015
Simply beautifull !
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:icondianote:
Dianote Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2015
Wow...
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:icondcjbeers:
DCJBeers Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2015
Another fine job!Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap 
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:iconartificialphantom:
ARTificialphanTOM Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
A most powerful piece. Regardless of the details of the event it is apparent that she is the anchor amongst the chaos. Great work.
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:iconinkdrone:
InkDrone Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This painting of Joan of Arc will go into history, and echo. Donato is a living legend. This is emotion captured onto a canvas by a life's work of talent and diligence. Just a breathtaking piece that will be most likely be pondered by many, for hours to come.
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:iconzwarrior95:
ZWarrior95 Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2015  Student Digital Artist
This is absolutely breathtaking
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:iconbeef-stock:
Beef-Stock Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2015
This fully conveys the Joan of Arc legend and downfall to me, wonderful story telling ability and art skills
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:icondan-odeny:
dan-odeny Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
this is astounding!!
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:iconwindgott:
Windgott Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2015   Writer
I like it, when pictures are telling a story. But this needs an artist with empathy and imagination. You truly are!I think I've fainted. 
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:iconsacra-anima:
Sacra-Anima Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Absolutely amazing. Art is such a powerful conduit of emotion. You captured the beauty and pain of Joan's story. The whispering mouth at Joan's ear made my heart sigh. Her eyes lit with the light of truth. Beautiful friend, thank you for creating this.
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:iconjghgrh:
jghgrh Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
Wow.
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:iconjules7532:
jules7532 Featured By Owner May 31, 2015
Truly Awesome!
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:iconstudio-echelon:
Studio-Echelon Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is a beautiful piece!
Knowing the brief version of Joan's history, 
And how her life ended...this is one bittersweet artwork, agonizing really. 

Well done! Truly a piece of art! :)
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:iconalbertino1970:
Albertino1970 Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2014
This is so impressing!
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:iconmaxwellfth:
MaxwellFth Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2014
A favorite! Excellent write-up as well... you really have captured ambiguity throughout, without sacrificing anything. It is as chaotic as it is serene. Sublime!
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:iconconstan-lerois:
constan-lerois Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
wow excellent
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:iconphoenixleo:
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2014
I have seen this one so many times, I thought I had already faved it! :noes:
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:iconalina-kurbiel:
Alina-Kurbiel Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2014   Traditional Artist
wow!
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:iconbluestrose:
BluestRose Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014  Student Digital Artist
This is a bit of an odd question, have you ever thought about taking students?
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:iconrentoryuuinthetardis:
RenToRyuuIntheTardis Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
!!! you sir are a master of story and art! (the way you've retold the story is just !!! this is just amazing. !!!!)
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:iconrus-ka:
Rus-ka Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2014
This is impressive. The expressions in the faces and hands are stunning. It is a worthy tribute to a remarkable woman.
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:iconsupergeo1:
Supergeo1 Featured By Owner May 30, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is one hell of an amazing piece of work! Seeing the pencil outline really shows start to finish....love it!
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:iconarcturus-90:
Arcturus-90 Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Wow! :O
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:icongorrem:
Gorrem Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Yup, amazing composition of figures.
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:iconshaman-2000:
Shaman-2000 Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014
The best viewing of Joan of Arc!
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:iconfootinadream:
footinadream Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
I've been scouring the internet for contemporary representations of saints, this has been the best and most beautiful one I've found so far! the composition and colors are fantastic, I'm in love with the way the orange in the top left makes this piece glow, and the ambiguity of the piece as a whole. Thanks for making such a piece of beauty, do you sell prints???
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:icon22foxco:
22foxco Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2013  Student General Artist
wow
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:iconredamaranthos:
RedAmaranthos Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This is beautiful!!
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:iconcrioarts:
CrioArts Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
wow
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:iconred-amber:
red-amber Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2013  Hobbyist
So impessive...
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:iconalejandrodmarco:
AlejandroDMarco Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2013
a Masterpiece
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:iconscorpionet69:
scorpionet69 Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013
One of the.....no....the most gorgeous rendition of Jeanne D'Arc I have seen so far. You handle the hands beautifully. I do have a little problem with her left hand, it's older and do not match her softer and younger right hand. Her face could be younger, she after all died at a tender age of 19. I may take that last line back if you intentionally make her that way as she does sound like that tormented soul as depicted by the Luc Besson movie. That kind of torment she experienced can age a person prematurely rather quickly, witness the famous Steve McCurry photo of the Afghan Girl from a refugee camp, when they found her a few years later as a married woman, it was a sad sight. 
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:iconphg-art:
PhG-Art Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
An imrpressive painting!
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:iconlaptopninja510:
LaptopNinja510 Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Utterly amazing- it inspires me :3 Wonderful!
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:iconartanokhin:
ArtAnokhin Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Great Work!

I want to ask, what size of the canvas?
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:iconjarahamee:
Jarahamee Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
This is so beautiful, I love the intensity on their faces and the movement in all the figures. The quote couldn't fit the woman better.
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Submitted on
May 24, 2012
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