Nicholas Sarkozy, the President of France, marked the 600th anniversary of Joan of Arc's birth by giving a grand speech about political unity today. The Medieval heroine was born on Jan. 6, 1412 in eastern France, and burned at the stake in 1431, but these days the French apparently have kinder views about women warriors. Joan continues to act as an inspiration to political figures, artists, and feisty schoolgirls throughout the world, and was even canonized by the Vatican in 1920.
In an AP article by Michael Euler, the French President is quoted as saying, "Joan is the incarnation of the most beautiful French virtues." For this reason, there are a number of exquisite paintings venerating St. Joan. See some of these striking images in the slideshow below.