Marble statue of a wounded Amazon

Period: Imperial

Date: 1st–2nd century A.D.

Culture: Roman

Medium: Marble

Dimensions: H. 203.84 cm (80 1/4 in.)

Classification: Stone Sculpture

Credit Line: Gift of John D. Rockefeller Jr., 1932

Accession Number: 32.11.4

Description

In Greek art, the Amazons, a mythical race of warrior women from Asia Minor, were often depicted battling such heroes as Herakles, Achilles, and Theseus. This statue represents a refugee from battle who has lost her weapons and bleeds from a wound under her right breast. Her chiton is unfastened at one shoulder and belted at the waist with a makeshift bit of bridle from her horse. Despite her plight, her face shows no sign of pain or fatigue. She leans lightly on a pillar at her left and rests her right arm gracefully on her head in a gesture often used to denote sleep or death. Such emotional restraint was characteristic of classical art of the second half of the fifth century B.C.
The original statue probably stood in the precinct of the great temple of Artemis at Ephesos, on the coast of Asia Minor, where the Amazons had legendary and cultic connections with the goddess. The Roman writer Pliny the Elder described a competition held in the mid-fifth century B.C. between five famous sculptors, including Phidias, Polykleitos, and Kresilas, who were to make a statue of an Amazon for the temple. This type of statue is generally associated with that contest.

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