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Daily Helping for November 4th, 2020 – Marie d’Orléans

A photo of a statue, approximately one foot high, of Joan of Arc by Marie d'Orléans.

There’s a lot that I love about living in France. All the clichés, of course. The food and wine are truly spectacular. But I also love the storied history of this country, especially the soap opera that was the French monarchy. The last French king ended his reign in 1848, but relics from that era are everywhere. You never know when you’ll happen upon one. Like this statue of Joan of Arc, for example. During a recent visit to the Musée de la Vie Romantique, I happened to notice this small sculpture sitting inconspicuously on a table in one of the rooms. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that its artist was none other than Marie d’Orléans, one of the last princesses of France.

Marie d’Orléans was the daughter of King Louis-Philippe, the last king of the French. Tragically, she died at the age of 25 from tuberculosis, but she still managed to become a highly respected and acclaimed artist during her short life. She specialized in sculpting images of Joan of Arc, and today, those sculptures are displayed in museums around the country. Which is how I happened upon the one above.

I know exactly zero about what it takes to create a sculpture, so I can’t say anything about the quality of this one. What I can say is that I find it amusing that royal artifacts are so common in France, that nary a fuss was made about this one. There wasn’t even a placard to alert people to the fact that the artist was royalty. It wasn’t until I got home that I discovered this. But I’m happy I did. I love the fact that a princess of France spent her final years honouring one of the great women of French history.

Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!