Friday, November 13, 2015

The Survival of France

The history of France has been a game of capture the flag since its very beginning. Physical boundaries such as the Alps and Pyrenees mountains kept the civilization they enclosed safe for a while. However, greedy emperors, like Julius Caesar, felt necessary to take over all of the land that wasn’t theirs from people like Vercingetorix. Wars and battles such as the fight for the Gallic tribes and 100 years war forever altered France’s course of history. Along with conflict with other people threatening the survival of France, came natural a downfall spread by rodents known as the black death. Nearly half of the population was killed sending the country into a downward spiral. Progress within the city came to a halt for a while but then came back in full swing. What came out of the storms of violence and death, was a beautiful blooming of cultural diversity and new social norms. Masterpieces of art, like the building of Notre Dame, told stories inspiring the bettering of the community of France as a whole. Structures like the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel tower commemorated the struggles and perseverance of the people of France. My favorite blossom out of the storm was the heroic stories of determined spirits that fought for their country relentlessly.
The story that caught my eye the most was Joan of Arc. Inspired by her religion, she helped the military of France fight in the 100 years war. Her main purpose was rallying the troops to keep fighting for their country and to be brave. The troops responded positively to her rallying and made great progress. Unfortunately, she was captured by Belgium and put to death. However, she is still known as a saint in France for her undying confidence in the troops and bravery in war. It’s amazing to know how much of an impact one woman made in war. It is not often women get much credit for anything in early times, let alone the victory of a war. In my opinion, her story shows a progression of the recognition of women as an strong individual in society and not just something that is required to fulfill her husband’s every wish. For this reason, I want to see the pieces of art made in her honor and all of the other heroic stories I’ve heard that occurred in France’s timeline. Her story alone can inspire women to step out of their comfort zone, challenge themselves, and not conform to society’s mold.

File:Louvre at dusk2.JPG

The walk that most interests me with this topic is Louvre Italian Masters because within the Louvre lies beautiful sculptures that famous artists have made idolizing France’s culture and legendary accomplishments such as a sculpture and paintings of Joan of arc. ( Being able to see works of art in memory of huge events throughout the history of france would allow me to put everything I have learned in context. I could apply my knowledge to different perspectives of her through different artists who all idolized her as a saint but yet in different ways. One artist may express her as a warrior in armor working alongside the men whereas another artist may show her as a woman in plain traditional clothing speaking to troops.

Destyni Freese
File:Jeanne d'Arc by François Rude (Louvre RF2974) 20141107.jpg


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