I can think of virtually no artist who has devoted the bulk of her career to a single subject. Picasso now and then jousted with his alter ego, the Minotaur. Rodin tinkered with figures from The Gates of Hell on and off throughout his long and productive life. Georgia O’Keeffe did multiple paintings of the same vistas, flowers, even clam shells. But one single solitary ongoing obsession for nearly 30 years?
Yet that’s been the case with Santa Fe artist Sandra Filippucci. After stumbling upon a chapel dedicated to Joan of Arc, the warrior-saint who briefly led the French to victory during the Hundred Years War, the artist discovered enough material to last her a lifetime (or at least that’s how it’s looking right now). Filippucci was taking a break from her life in Connecticut, staying in a former rectory in Normandy, when she discovered artworks dedicated to the Maid of Orléans. The fascination with Joan subsequently led to thorough study of her subject (there are innumerable books, plays, movies, artworks, as well as transcripts and accounts of her trial for heresy). That research in turn inspired a series of paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings….and, who knows? Maybe in time a video. It wasn’t until recently that she began to see some parallels with her own struggles as a woman and an artist, and it’s been a fascinating journey for her—and for those who get to know Filippucci better.