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Mattei Amazon

Roman copy of one of the Ephesian Amazons. According to a passage in Pliny’s Natural History four sculptors, Pheidias, Polykleitos, Kresilas and Phradmon, competed for the job of making a statue of an Amazon for the temple of Artemis at Ephesus. The sculptors themselves were to choose the best and, after each voting for themselves, Polykleitos came out the winner.

How seriously we should take this story is doubtful as even Pliny believed it to be improbable. Nevertheless, scholars have long argued over which sculptor made which of this group of four Amazons.

The Amazon wears a quiver and one ankle spur and probably held a spear in her left hand, not a bow as the restoration suggests. She appears to be unwounded, unlike the others in the Ephesian group

Location of Original: 

Rome, Vatican, Galleria delle Statue, 265


Purchased from Malpieri of Rome by the Fitzwilliam Museum. Transferred to the Museum in 1884


Lippold: Griechische Plastik, 171 (n.7)
Richter: Sculpture & Sculptors of the Greeks (1950), 229, fig.620
Walston: Catalogue of Casts in the Museum of Classical Archaeology (1889), 59, no.269
Lawrence: Classical Sculpture (1928), 208-
Amelung: Catalogue of the Vatican Museum II (1908), 453, pl. 50
Furtwängler: Masterpieces of Greek Sculpture, 128
Pliny: Natural History XXXIV.19

Roman. Original: late C5 BCE

From the Villa Mattei, Rome

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