The Legend of Jeanne d'arc: Illustrations by Gravelot for Voltaire's La Pucelle d'orléans (1762) - PDF

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The Legend of Jeanne d'arc: Illustrations by Gravelot for Voltaire's La Pucelle d'orléans (1762) by Tamsin Jane Foulkes A thesis submitted to the University of Birmingham as part of the requirements for

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The Legend of Jeanne d'arc: Illustrations by Gravelot for Voltaire's La Pucelle d'orléans (1762) by Tamsin Jane Foulkes A thesis submitted to the University of Birmingham as part of the requirements for an MPhil (B) in History of Art Department of History of Art School of Languages, Culture, Art History and Music University of Birmingham October September 2010 University of Birmingham Research Archive e-theses repository This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder. Abstract This study examines Voltaire s ( ) poem La Pucelle d Orléans (The Maid of Orléans) of 1762 and the accompanying illustrations by Gravelot ( ) as an adaptation of the fifteenth-century legend of Jeanne d'arc ( ). The original narrative tells of Jeanne who led the French army of Charles VII to victory against the English in alliance with Burgundians in the Hundred Years War ( ). This thesis argues that Voltaire and Gravelot dramatically altered this original narrative to make points with eighteenth-century significance. It examines the ways in which Voltaire and Gravelot were drawing upon eighteenth-century discourses on gender and class, and those concerning the French monarchy and the Catholic Church. In particular, this study offers an insight into how Gravelot s illustrations conveyed his understanding of Voltaire s poem to an eighteenth-century audience. The relationship between the text and the images for the 1762 edition of La Pucelle has been overlooked by previous scholarship. It shows how Gravelot s illustrations were more than a supporting tool for the poem and that they played an important role in heightening the readers understanding and enjoyment of Voltaire s La Pucelle d Orléans. Table of Contents Introduction Chapter One Jeanne d'arc as the Lower-Class and Female Warrior Chapter Two The Dominating Royal Mistress and Notions of Kingship Part One - The character of Agnès Sorel in La Pucelle and the eighteenth-century salonnières Part Two - The character of Charles VII in La Pucelle and the eighteenth-century monarch Louis XV Chapter Three Anticlerical Sentiment: Catholic Masculinity and Female Virginity Part One Catholicism and Superstition Part Two Catholicism and Virginity Part Three Catholicism and Marriage Conclusion Bibliography List of Illustrations Illustrations Acknowledgement Introduction Although Voltaire s primary purpose may have been to parody Chapelain s portrait of Joan, there can be no doubt that from the outset he aimed at much more important targets. For we see him striking at the Pucelle cult and making the immoral royal house of France an object of derision; his chief objective, however, may have been the Catholic Church, and he seems to have seized this opportunity to give vent to his anticlericalism. Ingvald Raknem 1 This thesis explores the illustrations by Hubert François Bourguignon d Anville, also known as Gravelot for François-Marie Arouet Voltaire s twenty-canto poem La Pucelle d Orléans (The Maid of Orléans), 2 published in Geneva in Gabriel de Saint- Aubin s ( ) Voltaire écrit 'La Pucelle (Voltaire writing The Maid ), engraved by N. Ransonette of c (fig. 1) shows Voltaire in his study gazing fondly at a shield depicting Jeanne d Arc whilst writing his poem. A putti carries two shields decorated with the portraits of Charles VII and Agnès Sorel whilst another putti holds a flaming torch over Voltaire s head to signify his Enlightened status. Voltaire places one foot on the title page of Jean Chapelain s ( ) poem La Pucelle, ou La France Deliverée of 1656 which lies on the floor next to bags of money thereby presenting a stark contrast between the popularity of Voltaire in comparison to Chapelain. 4 Throughout this study, I examine how Voltaire and Gravelot were influenced by, and responded to, eighteenth-century shifting discourses, arguing that they dramatically altered the fifteenth-century narrative of Jeanne d Arc to make points with eighteenth-century resonance. In addition, I suggest that Voltaire and Gravelot, in forming La Pucelle, used humour as a vehicle for political and religious critique. 1 Ingvald Raknem, Joan of Arc in History, Legend and Literature, Oslo, 1971, p At the University of Cambridge Library I found individual pages of the 1762 edition of La Pucelle with engravings signed by Gravelot, and these are identical to the unsigned prints found in bounded copies of this edition. This enables me to be confident of the authenticity of Gravelot as the designer of the twenty illustrations for this edition of Voltaire s poem. 3 When quoting from the 1762 French edition I will refer to William Fleming s English translation, The Works of Voltaire: A Contemporary Version, Volume XX, The Maid of Orleans of For more information on Jean Chapelain s La Pucelle, ou La France Deliverée see, Jennifer Tsien, Voltaire and the Temple of bad taste: A Study of La Pucelle d Orléans, Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, Vol. 5, 2003, pp Using the title statement by Ingvald Raknem as my starting point, I show how Voltaire and Gravelot were mocking Jean Chapelain s portrayals of Jeanne as a successful female peasant warrior and that they were commenting on eighteenth-century conceptions of gender roles and social order. Furthermore, Voltaire and Gravelot were highlighting the misconduct of members of the Catholic Church and French government who abandoned or condemned Jeanne d Arc in the original legend, and the critical discourses surrounding these institutions in eighteenth-century France. This thesis examines the ways in which Gravelot s illustrations conveyed his understanding of Voltaire s poem and its objectives to an eighteenth-century audience. The size of this study prevents me from discussing all twenty cantos and illustrations. I propose that selected cantos and illustrations can be examined through three broad themes that will be the focus of each chapter: sexuality, war and religion. The fifteenth-century legend of Jeanne d Arc tells of a peasant girl from Domremy who became the national heroine of France and led the French army of Charles VII to victory against the English in alliance with Burgundians in the Hundred Years War. 5 Voltaire, by altering this original narrative added a satirical twist so that Jeanne, in order to achieve victory in war must keep her heroic virginity whilst being chased by licentious members of the clergy and English knights throughout. I discuss the range of sexual encounters in La Pucelle as Voltaire s and Gravelot s way of highlighting the increase in erotic literature and imagery in eighteenth-century France. 6 I show that Gravelot s prints are of an erotic rather than pornographic nature through his decision to include no full frontal nudity or genitalia and intimacy that is only implied. 7 In La Pucelle Voltaire neglected to inform the poem s audience of Jeanne s contribution to the Hundred Years War, her imprisonment, trial and execution. 8 Instead, Voltaire began with the bare outlines of the original legend and built a chivalric plot over it, in which Jeanne s heroic mission is overshadowed by the adventures of aristocratic knights and 5 Marina Warner, Joan of Arc: the image of female heroism, Hamondsworth, Robert Darnton, The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France, New York and London, 1995, pp Chapter Eight, 'Decency and Indecency', Philip Stewart, Engraven Desire: Eros, Image and Text in the French Eighteenth Century, London, Régine Pernoud and Marie-Véronique Clin, Joan of Arc: Her Story, London, ladies. For example, King Charles VII ( ) 9 and Agnès Sorel ( ) 10 as recognisable historical figures, Dorothée, a biblical figure from the New Testament and Judith de Rosamore from the Book of Judith in the Old Testament. In La Pucelle Jeanne appears to lack a clear understanding of the mission given to her by God and needs to be guided by Saint Denis, God s representative. The poem s and the illustrations disjointed plot or multiple plots can be understood as Voltaire s and Gravelot s attempts to construct a mock-epic poem, which parodied the unified narrative of the classical epic. 11 Voltaire was one of the most famous writers of the French eighteenth century. 12 Voltaire s literary reputation can be described as having three main strands: he was a philosophe, a free-thinker, in 1763 becoming a member of the Académie Française and a contributor to one of the most famous texts of the Enlightenment, the Encyclopédie. 13 He was known for his comedies, which were shown at the Comédie Française, the leading theatre in Paris during the mid-eighteenth century and also known, for the focus of this study, as a poet. Although Voltaire s personal life and literary career are fairly well-documented, the life and works of Gravelot are comparatively unfamiliar. 14 Gravelot did not receive conventional artistic training like his contemporaries, Cochin, 9 The Work of Voltaire: A Contemporary Version, Volume XX, The Maid of Orleans, trans. William F. Fleming, New York, 1927, Canto One, pp Ibid, Canto One, pp In his Essay on Epick poetry of 1727, Voltaire claimed that one of the principle conventions of epic poetry is Unity of Action, because the Understanding is better satisfy d when it reposes upon a single Object, adequate to our Views, and which we may take in easily, than when it is lost in the Hurry of Confusion, Paris, p Ian Davidson, Voltaire in Exile, London, 2004; Theodore Besterman, Voltaire, Oxford, 1976; Haydn Mason, Voltaire: a biography, London, A philosophe can be defined as an intellectual of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment who applied reason to many areas of learning including science, literature, history, politics and economics. Daniel Roche, France in the Enlightenment, trans. Arthur Goldhammer, London, Existing scholarship on Gravelot includes, Alice Newlin, The Celebrated Mr Gravelot, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. 5, No. 2, 1946, pp. 61-6; Ruth S. Kraemer, Drawings By Gravelot in the Morgan Library: A Checklist, Master Drawings, Vol. 20, No. 1, 1982, pp. 3-73; Gravelot, in Edmund and Jules Goncourt, L art du XVllle siècle, Vol. 2, Paris, , pp ; Vera Salomon, Eighteenth- Century French Book Illustrators: Gravelot, London, Eisen, and Le Jeune who studied at the Paris Académie. During the early 1720s Gravelot embarked on a trip to Rome to study art under the patronage of Louis d Aubusson, Duc de la Feuillade but never reached Italy because he ran out of money. In the early 1730s Gravelot joined Jean Restout the Elder s ( ) studio and studied under François Boucher ( ). Gravelot s reputation as an outstanding illustrator began in England. In he was invited to England by Claude Du Bosc ( ), who was publishing an English translation of Bernard Picart s ( ) Les cérémonies et coutumes religieuses de tout les peuples et de tous les temps (The religious rites and customs of all the people of the world), originally published in Amsterdam in He became friendly with a circle of British artists including William Hogarth ( ) and Francis Hayman ( ), and taught Charles Grignion (c ) and Thomas Gainsborough ( ) at St. Martins Lane Academy in London. In 1745 after the battle of Fontenoy Gravelot returned to France due to increasing anti-gallican feeling in England. 16 Gravelot s illustrations for the 1762 edition of La Pucelle were produced at the height of his career. In the early 1760s Gravelot was appointed Professor of drawing at the École Militaire in Paris. 17 During this time Gravelot produced illustrations for a number of well-known works, such as Boccaccio s Decameron of 1757, Rousseau s La Nouvelle Héloïse of 1761, Voltaire s edition of Corneille s Oeuvres of 1764, and the edition of Ovid s Metamorphoses. Gravelot s design for the frontispiece of Torquato Tasso s poem Jérusalem délivrée (Jerusalem delivered) of 1771, engraved by B. L. Henriques (fig. 2) shows how Gravelot wished to be viewed as a practitioner of the arts by his contemporaries and audiences. This print depicts a female figure as an allegory of the arts holding a paint brush and supporting the round-panelled portrait of Gravelot that rests on a stone plinth which bears his name. He stares out of the image into the distance, an established convention when portraying a philosophical thinker. The portrait is surrounded by other emblems associated with the arts such as a 15 A list of Gravelot s works has been compiled by Roger Portalis, Les Dessinateurs d illustrations du dix-huitième siècle, Paris, 1877; Henry Cohen, Guide de l amateur de livres à gravures de XVIIIe siecle, Paris, Jane Turner, The Grove Dictionary of Art, New York, 1996, Vol. 13, p Vera Salomon, Eighteenth-Century French Book Illustrators: Gravelot, London, 1911, p classical column, scrolls, a measuring tool for sculpture and painting, and a sketchbook. A putti sits reading a book that signifies Gravelot s knowledge of literature, particularly poetry. Jean-Baptiste Bourguignon d Anville s ( ) Eloge de Monsieur Gravelot of 1774 offers an intriguing insight into Gravelot s working practices. 18 He describes how Gravelot often modelled in clay and had made in London mannequins about fifteen inches high, of both sexes who could move all their joints, even the fingers on their hands. Each of his mannequins was provided with different styles of dress; and the roman toga was included in this wardrobe. 19 In his preliminary sketch for Canto Fifteen of Voltaire s La Pucelle (fig. 3) Gravelot has paid particular attention to the pose and gesture of Charles VII whilst the scene in the background is faintly indicated. This sketch may have been a first attempt with a more complete drawing being sent away to the engravers. Gravelot s attention to detail is clearly noticeable in the illustrations for Voltaire s La Pucelle. Throughout this thesis I consider the inter-relationship between Voltaire s poem and Gravelot s illustrations. The emerging scholarly interest in eighteenth-century French book illustration tends to take the form of a general introduction, for example Gordon Ray s The Art of the French Illustrated Book and Owen Holloway s French Rococo Book Illustration. 21 However, I will draw upon the research of Roland Barthes who asks in his article L obvie et l obtus, Does the image duplicate some of the text s information, through the phenomenon of redundance, or does the text add previously unknown information to the image? 22 Illustrations are meant to create juxtapositions between the visual and textual but can also be decoded as separate images with different sets of meanings being created. Philip Stewart s Engraven Desire: Eros, Image and Text in the French Eighteenth Century examines many illustrated texts thereby 18 Jean-Baptiste Bourguignon d Anville, Eloge de Monsieur Gravelot, in Le Nécrologe des hommes célebres de France, Paris, Ruth S. Kraemer, Drawings by Gravelot in the Morgan Library: A Checklist, Master Drawings, Vol. 20, No. 1, 1982, pp Gordon Ray, The Art of the French Illustrated Book , exhibition catalogue, New York and London, Owen Holloway, French Rococo Book Illustration, London, Roland Barthes, L obrie et l obtus, Paris, 1982, p. 30. Originally discussed in Roland Barthes, The Rhetoric of the Image, in Image-Music-Text, trans. Stephen Heath, London, preventing an in-depth discussion of Voltaire s La Pucelle. 23 However, Stewart does offer a useful introduction to the relationship between the text and image for various editions of Voltaire s poem, including the 1762 edition, although this is mainly through an interpretation of the erotic content. Nora Heimann s recent publication Joan of Arc in French Art and Culture: from Satire to Sanctity ( ) 24 is the most up to-date research on Voltaire s La Pucelle. Heimann rightly sees the eighteenth century as the time in which the narrative of Jeanne d Arc was widely known throughout Europe and that this has been ignored in scholarship. Heimann focuses on depictions of Jeanne d Arc by various artists and within a large timeframe which means she examines only a few of Gravelot s illustrations. Heimann introduces the notion that the text and the images of La Pucelle can be understood through their underlying eighteenth-century social, political and religious significance, which my study explores in more depth. Like Stewart, Heimann approaches a study of La Pucelle by examining the relationship between the textual and visual aspects of the poem. Heimann and Stewart are the only writers that have discussed Gravelot s contribution to the 1762 edition of Voltaire s poem, although in both cases his work is examined in comparison to other illustrated editions of La Pucelle rather than as an individual object of study. The Voltaire Foundation Oxford Journals, Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century include articles such as John Leigh s Mock-epic history: La Pucelle d Orléans 25 and Jennifer Tsien s Voltaire and the temple of bad taste: a study of La Pucelle d Orléans. 26 These essays offer a thorough examination of La Pucelle as a mock-epic poem through an inversion of the conventions associated with a classical epic. In particular, Tsien and Leigh highlight the ways in which Voltaire s La Pucelle plays with 23 Philip Stewart, Engraven Desire: Eros, Image and Text in the French Eighteenth Century, London, Chapter One, Pornography as Hagiography and the Engendering of Virtue: Chapelain, Voltaire, and The Maid of Orléans, in Nora Heimann, Joan of Arc in French Art and Culture: from Satire to Sanctity ( ), Aldershot, John Leigh, Mock-epic history: La Pucelle d Orléans, Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, Vol. 5, 2004, pp Jennifer Tsien, Voltaire and the temple of bad taste: a study of La Pucelle d Orléans, Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, Vol. 5, 2003, pp Jeanne s ambiguous status as a female and peasant warrior. Both writers apply their theories to the text rather than giving equal consideration to the text and images. The first chapter of my thesis will continue to explore Voltaire s La Pucelle as a mock-epic poem but determine the ways that Gravelot s illustrations convey an understanding of Voltaire s choice of mock-epic conventions. Tsien s and Leigh s preoccupation with the classical elements of La Pucelle, however, means that their essays lack a consideration of the numerous scenes with religious connotations. Other essays from Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, such as Gloria Russo s Sexual roles and religious images in Voltaire s La Pucelle 27 and Virgil Topazio s Voltaire s Pucelle: a study in burlesque, 28 offer a generalised overview of the ways to interpret Voltaire s La Pucelle through its sexual and religious content. Both of these essays neglect to take into account the numerous editions of La Pucelle produced throughout the eighteenth century, which resulted in important pictorial and textual differences and various ways to interpret the poem. By looking at existing scholarship it becomes apparent that the following areas need to be considered. Firstly, the key themes and subject matter of the text and images of the 1762 edition need to be identified, and secondly, their eighteenth-century significance established. Jennifer Tsien has stated that Jeanne d Arc received little attention during the French eighteenth century. 29 However, my research carried out at the Jeanne d Arc Research Centre in Orléans uncovered that one or two extremely detailed account
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