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Men’s duel in women’s eyes

In fine art pieces



Русская версия

Women watches a fight
Ladies watch a joust in a knight tournament
Illustration from a Medieval manuscript


Women watches a fight From time immemorial, men fight, wrestle, battle, carry war, duel… For different reasons, particularly over women, for women and in honor of women… “Real men” mostly fight far from women’s eyes but it happens that women are present at the men’s fights. The women’s reactions on men’s fights might be manifold – it depends on reasons caused the fight, on circumstances and on personalities of women. Many women really enjoy men’s combative sport and various fights (including quite brutal ones) – you can certain of that looking into some our materials and forum topics (see the references at the bottom). This pleasure is directly connected to the sexual instinct and many ladies do not hesitate to admit that. Sometimes, women are OK if men “sort out their relationship” (for instance, in case of a love triangle). It happens a woman asks two men to wrestle or fight just for her pleasure (at the same time, she has an opportunity to determine which fighter is better for her)… By the way, some men turn on when wrestle or fight before women. On the contrary, sometimes women try to separate brawlers or prevent a fight of duel… Some women don't digest any fights and any forms of combative activities trying to keep away from such events. Some women are indifferent about such things and are not interested in them… However, a men’s fight do not leave a majority of women cold, especially if they consider the fight as honest, noble and by rule.

The role of women in a boxing match by Thomas Rowlandson
"The role of women in a boxing match", 1811 by Thomas Rowlandson (1756–1827)
From the book Die Weiber in der Geschichte der Menschheit (The women in the history of mankind), Part I
Reprint from the monograph "Kampfes Lust" (Fighting Lust) by Werner Sonntag

The wrestlers by George Lambert
"The wrestlers (The pugilists)", 1910 by George Lambert (1873–1930)
From the National Gallery of Australia

Women react to the spectacle of men’s combat very differently. For instance, on the grotesque drawings by Thomas Rowlandson episode of a boxing match in a wealthy salon is drawn. The spectators among which dressed up ladies stand out watch the fistfight that has already reached a blood stage. One horrified lady is fainted while two other excited ladies stand by the ring and actively roots for the fighters. Simultaneously with the main match, the undercard to the bout is held – two lady-fans are fiercely locked in a skirmish, it looks like they support different boxers.

The painting by George Lambert depicts a wrestling or pugilistic bout between two men before women and children. We can just guess what exactly is happening. Perhaps, tow men just test their strength to amuse their families. One of two women watching the fight clinches her fists imagining her in the shoes of husband, while the other one just enjoys the fight.


These are two more drawings expressing one subject: two naked men grapple over a woman (naked too) who is watching standing alongside. On the famous drawing by Franz von Stuck "Battle over a woman" (1905) exhibited in the St. Petersburg’s “Hermitage” two excited men in readiness for fighting and a watching woman are drawn. The woman already gets hot under collar wondering about the coming battle and its "subsequences" for her. The artistic photograph by Maria Anna Freimut "Hot fight" shows grappling of two men. A woman holding flowers sits on a stump and unflappably waiting for the duel outcome, like a heifer grazing alongside young fighting bulls.


This subject attracted Pablo Picasso who drew a few sketches for the subject. On the left sketch three women acively go through nude men's wrestling match. On the second one there are four female spectators who watch calmly comfortably settling down.


On the next drawings two Fauns are wrestling and a girl is enchanted with the match standing on an elevating. One more picture - Duel of two older Fauns - they butt in front of nude Nymphs. A Nymph advanced ahead and takes up a clean-cut pose.


Two more "fights over a woman". The left painting is by Dante Gabriel Rosetti (1883г.)

At the right painting two men fighting with knifes in front of spectators in a ramshackle backyard are drawn on the watercolor painting by Walter Platnikov (1907). At the foregroung a group of topless women is located. One of them, probably the reason of the mortal duel attentively watches it.

Vera Chechelnitskaya
October 2007


In the Supplement white-black illustrations are represented depicting men's fights and duels in front of women.


Men’s wrestling in young girls' eyes

Children painting exhibition "What I know about Greece - meet to the 2004 Olympics"

Republic of Karelia



Julia Antonova, 14
"Ancient wrestlers"

Fighters want to determine who is the strongest among them,
Who will be announced a victor and rewarded with a laurel wreath.

Olessya Sharygina, 14
"Hercules battles Nemean Lion"

Nemeus lion was immune to arrows,
Heracles wrestled with him for a while.
He eventually managed to overcome him - it was another great feat.

Irina Rodina, 13
"Olympic Games in Ancient Greece"

Wrestlers engaged in a honor duel,
Each fighter worked for taking an opponent down three times,
getting his shoulder to touch the ground.


>> Combat and Gender

>> Fighting spectators


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