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Amazons in art


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The myths about the Amazons not just became a part of epic poetry but also were a source for creative activity in arts. Battling women is so unusual and exciting imaginary show that it attracted artists of all the times and Amazons and other ancient female warriors have been portrayed by famous Phidias and Rubens as well as by artists of various levels (including a lot of contemporary ones). Many ancient containers and relieves having Amazon motives on them survived until now. The best ancient Greek artists, like sculptor Phidias, artist Mikon, portrayed the Amazons in statues, bas-reliefs and art pictures. Ancient imitations remain of statues by the great masters: relieves from Halicarnassus, vase ornaments, etc. The Amazons are represented there having ideally beautiful female forms with the both breasts but with quite developed muscles.






Stories about the Amazon didn't disappear even in Medieval Age. During Renaissance and Classicism the myth reborn in poetry and art as well as in confidence that the female nation did exist even in Africa and America (Amazon river got its name from them). On the paint of Rubens "The Battle of the Amazons" a bloody battle between horsemen and horsewomen on a bridge is shown in classical tradition of the battle genre. Nowadays, female warriors in arts and in sculpture became very popular - quite many such works are selling through souvenir stores and throw the Internet.

It's interesting to note that at almost all ancient portraits of Amazons in art they are drawn to be defeated by men warriors although it's obvious that at their times it was impossible to create and keep a state without military victories - some kind of ancient male sexism. Besides, there are no portraits of Amazons where they are fighting other women. Does that mean that they fought men only? In contrary to the ancient times, now the opposite tendency takes place - in art female warriors almost always defeat male ones and women are frequently drawn fighting each other.

The list of illustrations

1. Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. Artist's rendition.

2. The Battle of the Amazons. Peter Paul Rubens. The only known battle painting representing female army. It's often placed on covers of feminist books.

3. Amazon and Centaur. Franz von Stuck, 1912.

4. Amazons. Louvre, Paris, France.

5. The Wounded Amazon. Copy after an original known to have been created by Polykleitos. Vatican Museum, Rome, Italy.

6. The Wounded Amazon. Copy after an original known to have been created by Phidias. This sculpture and the previous one have been created by Polykleitos and Phidias for a competition in the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus. Won by Polykleitos. Metropolitan Museum, New York, USA.

7. Amazons in fighting. Silver plate. British Museum, London, Great Britain.

8. Penthesilea leading the Amazons. Christine de Pisan, 1460.

9. Struggle between Woman and Centaur. Odelon Redon (1840-1916). Pastel, Private Collection, France.

10. Wounded Amazon. Franz von Stuck, 1904.

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