Joan of Arc in Media

U.S. war posters from the First and Second World Wars, Library of Congress. Retrieved from

The first image that caught my eye, was the dual posters from the first and second world wars respectively. The poster on the left shows a beautiful young woman clad in armor with a sword raised high against a dark background. The only break in the background is a column of white directly behind the woman. The title is “Joan of Arc Saved France” and continues on the bottom with a “Women of America – Save Your Country – Buy War Savings Stamps.” The poster on the right is a visual contrast to the poster on the left even though they were designed and distributed only a few decades apart. The poster on the right is depicted only in three muted colors, red, white, and black. It shows a rough depiction of a woman in a full suit of armor holding a flag from the era of crusades in front of a large french flag and in the foreground they depict a U.S. soldier holding a rifle solemnly in front of him with a tank emerging from behind him. The caption reads “Help Free French to Fight for Democracy” and then “Join France Forever” and then gives an address. While the posters may be contrasting in style, they have similar messages. The left poster uses a woman clad in shining spotless armor but with a face like a doll and a slender waist as the only focal point beyond the writing. The focal point is the bright spot against a dark background. Driving home the concept that the intended audience, women, could also be helpful in the war effort by casting Joan of Arc as the female equivalent for Uncle Sam. The second poster sends a similar message to the first but is directed at men and, contextually, plays more into the idea of Joan of Arc as a saintly figure who fought bravely for what was good and right than into her being a woman. Despite Joan of Arc in the background and the soldier in the foreground, they are lined up so it seems like they are standing together and with their sizing being equivalent. It seems to cast the U.S. soldier as just as much of a mythic figure as Joan of Arc, and who wouldn’t want to be mythic?

  John Everett Millais in 1865, oil on canvas. World History Encylopedia 

The second image that caught my attention was of an oil painting from 1865 by John Everett Millais. The painting is simple in composition but heavy in detail. It depicts a young woman in full armor, helmet set aside, on her knees with her sword laid across her lap, and looking up. The background is simple and dark, with the young woman being the primary subject. The armor is rendered with realistic detail and fully catches the light while the woman’s face is rendered significantly less giving her the hazy, dewy glow similar to how women and angels are depicted in Renaissance-era artwork. The only light source is what the young woman is looking up at. From the dark background and intense shadows, it seems to be the only light source in the room. The young woman is looking up reverently, her helmet cast aside into the darkness as she gazes upon whatever that light is. This painting is simple but reverent, and the woman is pretty, modest, and young. The artist focuses more on Joan than whatever divine source she is gazing upon, very different from the halos and angels that are common in depictions of Joan of Arc. This painting is a character study rather than a whole story. 

Drawn by Cartoonist Maddie Dai on

The last piece of media I chose is a digital cartoon titled “Joan of Arc Is Revealed To Be A Woman” and it shows a cartoon Joan of Arc, polite and with her hands folded in front of her as three nondescript soldiers each give her a piece of advice, that with historical context, is meant to be funny and satirical. The cartoon is simple, black and white, has one panel, and looks like a mix of watercolor and pen textures. The people are rendered simply in a gawky, distinctly newspaper cartoon style. The cartoon is satirical, and at least to me, a funny commentary on the advent of the idea of “mansplaining” which is a very recently coined term. 



Dai, Maddie. “Joan of Arc Cartoons and Comics – Funny Pictures from Cartoonstock.” CartoonStock, 29 May 2019,

“Joan of Arc by John Everett Millais.” World History Encyclopedia, 26 Oct. 2021,

Seger, Donna. “Joan of Arc Archives.” Streetsofsalem, 30 May 2013,