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Joan's struggle by KetsiaLessard Joan's struggle by KetsiaLessard
Joan's struggle

Le combat de Jeanne
9" x 12"
Acrylic on canvas

Model: Melissa Joy Dennison

Private collection

This painting illustrates the inner struggle Joan of Arc probably experienced before leaving Domrémy for Vaucouleurs. We see by the way she answered God's call that she was puzzled and wondered how she could accomplish such exploits as freeing her people and leading the king of France to his crown: "And me, I answered it that I was a poor girl who knew not how to ride nor lead in war."

Joan is immobile; life goes on around her. The fight taking place in her heart and mind is too decisive for her to partake in daily tasks. She will move along when she has chosen to obey.
The dove sitting on Joan's shoulder symbolises the Holy Spirit as he counsels her and chases her fears away.

One interesting anecdote about doves: when Joan was at the stake crying out to Jesus, an English witness who hated her began staring as if in ecstasy and said he saw a dove flying away towards France as the Maid gave up the ghost.

The concept for this picture was inspired by the model's own words about struggling with God. Melissa is a missionary's daughter. She once wrote this reflection about the story of Jacob wrestling with God: "My God is so patient and gentle with me. So many times I've wrestled with him and he was willing to stay and take the time to wrestle instead of letting me go and giving up on me. He always stays and wrestles so gently with me as he calmly, patiently wears me out until I'm so weak and tired that I collapse in his arms."
-Melissa Joy Dennison, Wrestling with God, November 2007

The photograph of Melissa used to paint this was taken by Nikki Allebach and used with her kind permission.
Thibald Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2012
Very moving picture, which powerfully expresses spiritual struggle. I like very much the way you did the landscape, which looks like what I know of the countryside in the east of France. I hope you will continue your series of painting about Joan of Arc who remains a very modern saint indeed !

Bravo from France !
KetsiaLessard Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2012   Traditional Artist
Merci. Je ne considère pas cette toile comme la plus réussie, mais je suis contente que le message passe. J'ai utilisé une photo de la région de Domrémy pour le paysage.

Peut-être m'essaierai-je encore à peindre Jeanne d'Arc. Cet autre tableau plus récent reste dans le thème :
pippagilbert Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2010
What a great picture! I like this a lot. I like how utterly normal she looks, but how you of course know that she is deliberating whether or not to follow God's call and change history!
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Submitted on
October 31, 2008
Image Size
1.0 MB


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