Emmanuel Fremiet trained at the Ecole Gratuité de Dessin in the early 1840s and apprenticed in the studio of François Rude, his uncle. He also worked in the Musée National d'Histoire Naturelle on a publication on comparative anatomy. He was eventually recognized as France's foremost animalier when he was named professor of zoological drawing at the Musée National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris in 1875, succeeding Antoine-Louis Barye.
The present model is one of best known portrayals of Joan of Arc, now found in the Place des Pyramides. First cast in 1874 and modified several times up until 1889, it quickly became a symbol of national pride following the Franco-Prussian war. The original plaster model is in the permanent collection of the Musée d'Orsay.
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