Joan of Arc
In grad school, I learned about searching versus browsing. One of the things that people say is a bummer about all of our refined searching is that people can't just go to a collection and browse. You find interesting things that way and you never know what you will find. I'm currently cataloging a collection that I thought was one thing and is completely different. One of my favorite things to do ever is go to an art gallery and just wander. You get a vague idea of where you are going but you never know what you will find. There are always pieces that stand out and pieces that don't. It's amazing the things people save and why they do it. That is the thing about physical objects, they tell a story. I know I kind of sound like a hoarder here- I'm a librarian. We look for interesting things in whatever content we find. Here is something that stood out to me from the Met Open Access Collection. It's a picture of Joan of Arc.
This picture is just of spiritual awakening. It shows an average woman visualizing something that she can't even realize but knows she wants. It's incredibly powerful wrapped up in an image that seems mundane. It is the quintessential teenage girl longing, only instead of wanting something like money or some random guy-it's a future. It's being a hero. It's incredible.
In Wolf Hall, there is a character who is trying to be like Joan of Arc in England. She is warning everyone about the king. She was being paid by France. Who was Joan of Arc really? I listened to the You Must Remember This podcast about Jean Seberg and Jane Fonda. Jean Seberg was just a sweet Iowa girl who was chosen by a crazy director to play Joan of Arc and jump started her career as a ingenue. Her life was incredibly sad. She was actually burned in real life filming the movie. The person who painted this was a native of Lorraine who named Jules Bastien-Lepage. Apparently this was a celebration when Lorraine was ceded to Germany in the Franco-Prussian War. She became a folk hero and renewed interest was in her. This was when the Saints appeared to her and told her what she needed to do. I was raised Catholic and it's the faith I most identify with. The idea of sainthood is something that is so mystical and something that has been retained through millennia. I remember trying to explain to my coworkers about the various steps people could take to become a saint. You sound like a crazy person. 3 miracles that have to be proven by skeptics and can't be explained by science. You have to pray to a Blessed person and there are steps you have to take to get to that level. This is my abridged version of how to become a saint. Obviously, it's meticulously researched. Anyway, feel free to stare at this picture and brood. I could look at this all day. So simply gorgeous.