Amazone (1820)

Géricault, Théodore (1791-1824)

Amazone (Horsewoman)
1820 or later
Oil on canvas, 44.5 x 34.9 cm
Metropolitan Museum of ArtNew York

Géricault studied horses extensively throughout his life, and his stay in England in 182021 inspired a group of works representing elegant aspects of horsemanship and sport. The identity of this fashionably attired woman, who rides sidesaddle, is subject to speculation. Horse and rider are depicted in frieze-like profile, with the calm control she exerts over her mount standing in stark contrast to the portentous sky that distracts neither of them. Géricault here reconceives the traditional French image of a horsewoman, or Amazone, a term derived from ancient texts describing a fabled civilization of warrior women celebrated for their courage in battle. (MET)