VOICES OF LIGHT: Joan of Arc and Saint Michael, The Archangel
by Celtic Botan


"Oh! What an honor for the feminine sex!…
This entire realm, once lost by [wretched men],
restored and saved by a woman again”
"Ditié de Jehanne d’Arc", by Christine de Pizan, 1429
one of the earliest known feminist writers.


"From my girlhood to the present time, in a
wondrous fashion I have felt in myself the
power and mystery of secret and
wonderful visions…”

St. Hildegard of Bingen, mystic, poet,
and composer from the early 12th Century.


"A little girl […]
Upon whom arms and armor
weigh lightly; […]
Before her all foes take off at a run,
Of them none remains, not even a one.”

"Ditié de Jehanne d’Arc" by Christine de Pizan

Excerpts from 
"VOICES OF LIGHT"(Richard Einhorn) lyrics, which were taken from works by medieval female mystics.

[Walkthrough video]

(MORE DETAILS ABOUT THE PROCESS AND WORK IN PROGRESS SHOTS UNDER THE CUT!)

It started when I was watching American Horror Story: Asylum and this masterpiece called "Pater Noster" started to play on the background. Of course I fell in love at first listening, and soon I searched for more of it, for the album, and I found “Voices of Light”, an album that was composed by Richard Einhorn, inspired by Carl Dreyer’s "Passion of Joan of Arc", a silent movie made in 1928. 

A couple of days later, literally like 2 or 3 days after discovering about this amazing album I decided to watch this movie called That’s What I Am”, that deals a lot with bullying and prejudice and…. where the teacher reads to the class, throughout the movie, the book about Joan of Arc - no I had no idea of it when I decided to watch it and yes it started to bug me why Joan of Arc suddenly appeared in my life lol. But I decided that it would probably be a really interesting theme for a new painting so I started to think about what I could do, what kind of painting it could be.

And then days later, Kelly Lewis (aka Kelly Is Nice Photography, whose work I am really fan of) released a sneak peak for her most recent photoshoot, featuring her daughter Alice as Joan of Arc, releasing the entire photoshoot a couple of weeks later. That’s when I decided I would use Alice as reference for Joan! Thank you a lot Kelly, for giving me permission to use it, and for the inspiration! :heart:

About the painting:
There was some researching envolved, which is always fun because I always end up learning a lot! Watched both The Passion of Joan of Arc and Luc Besson’s The Messenger as inspirations and to learn more about her story, and see the different opinions / depictions about her. I really loved both movies! I highly recommend them, and also Richard Einhorn’s Voices of Light, UGH! What an AMAZING album. My favorite songs are Pater Noster and Torture (follow the lyrics and translation at the videos’ descriptions, it’s really interesting~).

Wanted a familiar yet new kind of image for Michael the Archangel (one of the voices Joan claimed to hear), so I used Guido Reni’s famous painting as a reference, but decided to make them chubbier (so they would look more mighty and menacing and strong) but looking very androgynous and young, almost like a child, because I wanted them to look really beautiful - also, I wanted their beauty to contrast with the bizarre/supernatural look, with all the lights and eyes and butterfly patterns on their wings.

Joan of Arc’s halo features her personal symbols: the sword, the Fleur de Lis, the cross and a burning fire around it; Michael’s halo features the translation of his name / retorical question written in Latin: Quis Ut Deus (or “Who is like God?”).

Now, some of the process!

REFERENCES:
(click on the links under each image to see them larger)


Alice as Joan of Arc, by
kellyisnice



"The Archangel Michael Defeating Satan", by Guido Reni




"Demon Hunter 6", by Tasastock


LAYOUTS: 
(Right-click the images into another tab to see them larger)



Joan of Arc’s halo, featuring her personal symbols (Fleur de Lis, Sword, Cross), which I did using Sekka, a free software you can download, and Michael’s initial design - I ended up changing a lot of things on his armor and body, cause I was really interested at designing his face / features above all.



(1) Initially, my intention would be feature not only Saint Michael, but also Saint Catherine of Alexandria and Saint Margaret of Antioch, whose voices Joan of Arc also claimed to hear. I even made designs for them, but I ended up cutting them out of the composition for it was too crowded.

(2) Initial sketch, featurinf only Joan and Saint Michael

(3) Refined sketch, now covering lighting and more details.

WORK IN PROGRESS SHOTS:
(right click into another tab)









CLOSE UPS:
(right click)



ANIMATED VERSION on DeviantART and on TUMBLR

TOOLS:
Paint Tool SAI | Photoshop CS4 | Wacom Bamboo PEN | Sekka | Around 30 hours

ALICE AS JOAN OF ARC Pictures (c) kellyisnice 
ART, Saint Michael’s Design (c) ME, Celtic Botan - Do not use, alter or copy.

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