Mattei Amazon

Mattei Amazon, 19th century
Sculptor unattributed, after Phidias (c.480-430 BC)
Image © Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum


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Mattei Amazon

Pliny the Elder (AD 23/24-AD 79) records five bronze statues of Amazons in the Artemision (Temple of Artemis) in Ephesus (present day Republic of Türkiye) which by 401 AD had been ruined or destroyed. He explains that they were the result of a competition in the 5th century BC between the artists Polyclitus, Phidias, Kresilas, ‘Kydon’ and Phradmon, who trialled their skills at portraying Amazon.

All five types show a standing female with a similar head and face and are clothed in a peplos that has fallen from one or both shoulders to leave her bare-breasted.

This sculpture is a copy of one of the five statues, the Mattei Amazon by Phidias. The prototype was discovered in 1770, as a marble Roman copy of a bronze original, and came into the Mattei collection. It is now on display in the Vatican. The figure looks down, with her right arm parrying and her left arm by her side with a quiver under it, though both arms, the head, and the left shoulder are all restorations.


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