Marble statue of a wounded Amazon

1st–2nd century A.D.
H. 203.84 cm (80 1/4 in.)
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
Gift of John D. Rockefeller Jr., 1932
Accession Number:
  • Description

    Lower legs and feet have been restored with casts taken from copies in Berlin and Copenhagen. Most of right arm, lower part of pillar, and plinth are eighteenth-century marble restorations.

    Copy of a Greek bronze statue of ca. 450–425 B.C.

    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 has 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 a wounded Amazon for the temple. This statue type is generally associated with that contest.

  • References

    Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1936[1934]. A Guide to the Collections, Part 1: Ancient and Oriental Art, 2nd edn. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1939. Guide to the Collections: Ancient and Oriental Art--Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Greek and Roman Far Eastern, Near Eastern Oriental Armor, Vol. 1, World's Fair Edition. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    von Bothmer, Dietrich. 1949. "The Classical Contribution to Western Civilization." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 7(8): p. 206.

    Richter, Gisela M. A. 1950. The Sculpture and Sculptors of the Greeks, 3rd edn. New Haven: Yale University Press, pp. 252, 571, fig. 656.

    Richter, Gisela M. A. 1953. Handbook of the Greek Collection. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, pp. 91, 232, pl. 72a.

    Richter, Gisela M. A. 1954. Catalogue of Greek Sculptures. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, no. 37, pp. 29-30, pls. 34-36.

    Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1970. Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries. New York: Dutton.

    Forsyth, William H. and The International Confederation of Dealers in Works of Art. 1974. "Acquisitions from the Brummer Gallery." The Grand Gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Sixth International Exhibition presented by C.I.N.O.A.. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 2.

    Robertson, Martin and Cambridge University Press. 1975. A History of Greek Art, Vols. 1 and 2. Cambridge, England, pp. 334-39, pl. 111b.

    1994. Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide: Works of Art Selected by Philippe De Montebello. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    Ridgway, Brunilde Sismondo. 1995. "Paene ad exemplum: Polykleitos' Other Works." Polykleitos, the Doryphoros, and Tradition, Warren G. Moon, ed. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, pp. 191-92, fig. 10.12.

    Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 128, pp. 116-17, 430.

    Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2012. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 71.

  • See also