Modern media seems to portray Joan of Arc as a very attractive girl. I don't quite buy this interpretation of her as it would also suggest plenty of suitors and could be counter productive in a camp full of men frustrated at the state of their country. So was Joan of Arc really as attractive as modern media suggests, or was she just a plain peasant girl who managed to uplift a country?

  • "could be counter productive in a camp full of men frustrated at the state of their country." Dubious - see edit.
    – user2590
    Aug 5 '13 at 9:00

There is a contemporary portrait of Joan of Arc in the art section of this site:

enter image description here

However, none of it can be verified as being accurate and the artist had never seen Joanne. There are some short descriptions of her during her trial (here and here) and a biography here that do go into some detail of what she might have looked like. Of course, you can get the trial transcript yourself. This boils down to:

In these documents she is described as a short, sturdy woman, with black hair.

Solving a Mystery: What Did Joan of Arc Look Like? by Patricia Nell Warren offers an hypothesis as to what she might have looked like. Another, more silly is a view of different representation of her...

  • 4
    Before any readers get exited, the exposition around that "contempoary portrait" mentions that the artist had never actually laid eyes on her.
    – T.E.D.
    Aug 2 '13 at 18:16
  • @Sardathrion : "Another, more silly is a view of different representation of her..." Indeed - amazing what people's imagination can produce. I'll stick with the SE and wikipedia images... They are not first hand evidence, but it's clear that there was no apparent attempt to stylize or embellish the images. I surmise they are fairly accurate.
    – user2590
    Aug 6 '13 at 3:51
  • Because books and websites can be lost you need to explain their contents Jul 27 '15 at 10:48

enter image description here

Painting, c. 1485. An artist's interpretation, since the only known direct portrait has not survived. (Centre Historique des Archives Nationales, Paris, AE II 2490)

i.e. - We don't know that she really looked like.


could be counter productive in a camp full of men frustrated at the state of their country.

I don't think that History supports your theory, particularly in the case of France: During the French Revolution there were similar situations - attractive women involved in battle. In fact, in History, Carlyle in 1.7.V describes one of the most prominent a figures in the Revolution, one Demoiselle Theroigne, who was compared by some to Joan of Arc also know as "the Maid of Orleans". (Perhaps we can deduce from the comparison to Joan of Arc that Joan was also reasonably attractive, although this is admittedly a stretch.)

The seized cannon are yoked with seized cart-horses: brown- locked Demoiselle Theroigne, with pike and helmet, sits there as gunneress, ‘with haughty eye and serene fair countenance;’ comparable, some think, to the Maid of Orleans, or even recalling ‘the idea of Pallas Athene.’

Anne-Josèphe Théroigne de Méricourt

Anne-Josèphe Théroigne de Méricourt

She was the most prominent of the women involved in the French Revolution, but there also were many others, and Carlyle is not shy about describing some of them as quite fetching indeed. Yet they were not a distraction, but an asset: they inspired and encouraged the men, they sometimes fought themselves, and most interestingly, according to Carlyle's account (disputed by others) Demoiselle Theroigne actually led a group of women during the Women's Insurrection and March to Versailles whose mission it was go and mingle with certain groups of soldiers loyal to Louis XVI, and seduce them into submission.... Much more has been written about the role of women in the French revolution as well (sources forthcoming...)

Bottom line: It seems that if you're busy fighting a war trying to fix your country, you probably have other things on your mind. You accept even very attractive women as soldiers and leaders and stick to business. Time for fun after the war.


We don't know what she looked like, but we are informed by people close to her that she was an attractive, well proportioned girl

Since I can't copy/paste from the source, and some people are having trouble reaching it, page 24 contains the sentence,

"The person closest to her from April 1429 to May 1430 claimed he was surprised to never have been tempted to approach her, 'although she was an attractive, well proportioned girl'. The footnote from that sentence is to a quotation in french quoting DuParc

The book in question is "Joan of Arc: Reality and Myth By D. E. H. de Boer, Marina Warner"

  • I can't see the page with the footnote, I'm afraid. Aug 6 '13 at 14:42
  • Unfortunate: The book is "Joan of Arc: Reality and Myth By D. E. H. de Boer, Marina Warner", which is available through google books et. al.
    – MCW
    Aug 6 '13 at 14:51

We will never know for sure because when they burned heretics they also burnt all things with their image on them.

  • 4
    This is an opinion; it would be better if it were based on research and provided citations. I'm also quite skeptical; as I said above, I've read firsthand accounts of Joan of Arc's appearance.
    – MCW
    May 4 '16 at 18:50

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