Welcome to WAM Updates

WAM Updates are short, informal posts that put the spotlight on small, but exciting, Museum-related projects, such as the addition of a new painting or sculpture to a gallery. They also serve as updates on staff, new services or programs, and other WAM news.

We hope you like reading the Updates! If you are interested in learning about something specific, or have a suggestion for a WAM Update, please update us at wamupdates@worcesterart.org

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Not Your Average Joan

Above: Antonin MerciƩ (French, 1845-1916), Jeanne d'Arc, 1875-1900, The Art Institute of Chicago, George F. Harding Collection, 2014.653

One of the commonest questions I get about armor is whether women ever wore it. In general, the answer is no, but there was one very famous exception. When Joan of Arc set out with the French army to rescue the country from the English invaders, she was given a suit of armor that must have saved her life many times over—she was always in the thick of battle, and was seriously injured several times.

Many artists over the centuries have been drawn to the image of the armored Joan. This month, Antonin MerciĆ©’s gilt bronze bust of the warrior saint joined our Knights! exhibition to remind us that even in the Middle Ages, a woman might become a hero.

Joan is on loan to us from The Art Institute of Chicago for a year. As it happens, this almost exactly how long her meteoric military career lasted before she was captured and sold to her English enemies—but not before she had turned the tide of the Hundred Years’ War.

Learn more about KNIGHTS!

- Jeffrey L. Forgeng, Curator of Arms & Armor and Medieval Art

Recent WAM Updates