Wounded Amazon

The woman leans on a pillar to rest from her exhaustion. She has raised her right arm above her head, so her armpit is visible. Three small drops of blood run from under her arm. She is wounded. The figure is of an Amazon, the mythical race of women warriors. Here, she is shown pensive and resting. This form of representation is completely typical for the peak of the classic era – between about 450 and 420 B.C.

From ancient sources and other surviving Amazon statues, we know that the Greek original in bronze of this Amazon was first cast as part of a competition. Roman author Pliny writes of how the best-known artists of the classical era were invited to sculpt an Amazon for the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus.

At the dedication ceremony, the artists present were supposed to pick the most beautiful. Of course, each artist chose his own Amazon statue. However, on the second vote, they all chose the one done by Polyclitus, who thus emerged from the competition the victor. There is much arguing over whether this is Polyclitus' Amazon, and over ascribing the other statues to their respective sculptors. However, many believe that this statue is the one by Polyclitus and thus the most beautiful of all the Amazons created for Artemis.