Friday, October 12, 2007

Joan of Arc & Her Sisters

Joan of Arc statue, Portland OR

Joan of Arc statue, Portland OR


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A couple of photos of Portland's very own Joan of Arc statue, located in the traffic circle at NE 39th & Glisan up in Laurelhurst. I don't get over to Laurelhurst too often, so I vaguely knew it existed, and I vaguely recalled that she'd been restored a few years ago, but that's about it. Then in July, during this year's Tour de France, I noticed the riders passing a statue that looked exactly like ours, so I made a mental note to investigate further. (The riders themselves were probably too wigged out on EPO and steroids to notice the statue, but that's neither here nor there.)

Joan of Arc statue, Portland OR

So I made a special trip to go find the statue, on behalf of this humble blog's nano-horde of Gentle Reader(s), and took a few photos. I'd intended to use a bunch of photos taken with my "new" antique store film camera, but that was one of the rolls I trashed early on, so I've only got these two pics to show for all my trouble. There are plenty of better photos of Joan out there on the interwebs if you don't like mine: Portland Ground, Portland Bridges, Waymarking, and Dreamstime.

Updated 7/29/09: It always bugged me that the two photos attached to this post were fairly substandard, since it really is a very cool statue. So I went back and took a new batch, and I like to think they're a step up from the originals. I also added the now-obligatory embedded Google Map, just to keep things modern and all. I punted the original photos to the end instead of deleting them, I guess so you can make up your own mind about the "step up" thing, if you care to. I took some infrared photos too; they didn't seem to fit here, so they got their own post.

Joan of Arc statue, Portland OR

In any case, it turns out that our Joan has eight sisters scattered around the globe. The one in Paris, four others in France, including one in Nancy and another somewhere in the Vosges region, near the Swiss border; ours; two others in the US, in Philadelphia & New Orleans; and another in Melbourne, Australia. I'm not sure where all the French ones are located. The Musee d'Orsay has an ungilded statue that might be stone or plaster. I'm not sure if it counts as one of the four or not.

Joan of Arc statue, Portland OR

Joan of Arc statue, Portland OR

It might be a fun project to travel the globe and visit all of the statues. But a word of warning, it seems that the Paris statue is revered by the French far right, and they make regular pilgrimages to it and do whatever it is that French right-wingers do. If you see a bunch of disreputable thugs (or whatever French right-wingers look like -- I really have no idea) hanging around the place, it's probably best to steer clear. Or at least bite your tongue and not mention the fact that the guy who donated the statue was Jewish. Explaining this inconvenient fact to them will just make them irritable and stabby, if they're anything like our right-wingers.

Joan of Arc statue, Portland OR

Joan of Arc statue, Portland OR

Our own statue has no unsavory associations, at least not that I'm aware of. If you want to know more about it, and how it got here, there are a few good starting points OurLaurelhurst.org, Portland Public Art, and jejune meanderings. Or if you just want the executive summary, a local businessman donated it to our fair city as a World War I memorial. The same conflict also brought us our very own Stonehenge, out in the Columbia Gorge. In contrast, our official World War II memorial is Memorial Coliseum. It's certainly much larger than Joan of Arc or Stonehenge, but the Coliseum's gone a bit shabby over the years, and these days it mostly plays host to Winter Hawks games. Meanwhile both Joan and Stonehenge have been extensively restored within the last decade or so. It's odd how these things work out.

Joan of Arc statue, Portland OR

Joan of Arc statue, Portland OR

The traffic circle is a city park ("Coe Circle Park"), although as usual the city parks department's website doesn't list it. It does show up in assorted city documents such as this one, which is also one of the only mentions of cute little Jewett Park and the Talbot Property anywhere on the interwebs. Other than this humble blog, of course. For whatever that's worth. Said document also manages to misspell "Glisan" as "Gilsen", which I understand is a deportable offense, or at least one where everyone else in the office gets to make fun of you. Since it's a park, you can technically go and wander around, or have a picnic, or at least get a closer look at the statue. I didn't, as you can tell from my two photos, because crossing the street looked dangerous, and I didn't think it'd be worth it. But here's a report at Urban Adventure League about a gaggle of cyclists riding to the park and having a picnic there en masse. So it's obviously possible to do that with nonzero odds of survival, at least if you believe stuff you read on the net. Sometimes I think this blog would be more interesting if I was just a little bit braver, and/or less antisocial. But the thought passes quickly, and I go back to my usual photos of flowers and acorns and whatnot. So it goes.

Joan of Arc statue, Portland OR

Joan of Arc statue, Portland OR

Joan of Arc statue, Portland OR

Updated 7/29/09: For the new batch of photos, I did cross the street and get a closer look. Does that mean I'm braver, or at least more determined, than I used to be? It's fun to think so, although getting across to the statue wasn't actually a big deal. I just used the old "wait for a gap in traffic" trick, and voila. Yay for me, or whatever.

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc

2 comments :

em2histbuff33 said...

Wow, I had not idea there were some many copies of this statue of Joan of Arc. Thanks for the great article. I found a great pic of the original without the background at http://www.maidofheaven.com/joanofarc_pictures8.asp

mjs said...

Truly beautiful images. I finally took a couple of pics of her and posted them, including a link to your posting here.

Again, your images of the statue are amazing. Truly!

++++