The “Amazons in Greek art” tab on Wikimedia Commons has more than a few inaccurately titled paintings. Here are a few of them.
Alfred de Dreux, “Amazon”
This is in fact a pretty lady riding a horse while wearing a lovely full skirt. She has no shield, and has not even sliced off her right breast to improve her archery skills. 0 Amazons.
Edward Mateusz Römer, “Amazon”
Just…just another lady on a horse. See how she is neither dressed for battle nor surrounded by thousands of gleaming mail-clad female companions bearing spears and arrows? That’s the difference, is the gleaming female companions bearing spears and arrows.
Wassily Kandinsky, “A Riding Amazon”
This is not Greece! Amazons do not wear top hats nor corsets into battle! That top hat is pretty great, though!
Alfred de Dreux again, “Lady Riding Sidesaddle or An Amazon of Bois de Boulogne”
ALL WOMEN RIDING HORSES ARE NOT NECESSARILY MYTHOLOGICAL MEMBERS OF AN ALL-FEMALE ARMY BENT ON SUBDUING GREECE, AND EVEN IF THEY WERE THEY DEFINITELY DON’T RIDE SIDESADDLE
Jules David, “Her Majesty Empress Eugénie Dressed as an Amazon”
She is actually dressed as Empress Eugenie, guy!
Cesare Augusto Detti, “The Amazon of Perugia”
THIS ONE’S NOT EVEN ON A HORSE
Gustave Courbet, “Woman in a Riding Habit (L’Amazone)”
“What did Amazons look like? You know, the ones from Greek mythology? Were they…did they look like sad pregnant ladies standing alone in a field? I feel like I read that somewhere.”
“That sounds accurate.”
“Great. Then this painting is finished.”
Alfred de Dreux, “Amazon In The Forest At Pierrefonds”
So much of this title is accurate! “In the forest” is evidently true. “At Pierrefonds” – I have no reason to doubt this was set elsewhere from Pierrefonds. And yet I do not believe this woman has ever subdued the Hittites, nor kidnapped a male member of the Gargareans in order to breed with him. It takes more than going outside and putting on some riding gloves to make an Amazon, you know?
Amedeo Modigliani, “The Amazon”
THIS ONE IS INDOORS, ARE YOU KIDDING ME, SHE IS CLEARLY VERY ATTRACTIVE BUT I BET SHE HAS A MONOCLE AND DANCES WITH WOMEN IN PARISIAN NIGHTCLUBS, NEITHER OF WHICH ARE CHARACTERISTICS OF AN ANCIENT FICTIONAL RACE OF FEMALE HERO-WARRIORS WHO SERVE AT THE PLEASURE OF QUEEN HIPPOLYTA. WHENCE THE BRISTLING QUIVER? WHENCE THE LOOSE LINEN GARMENTS SUITABLE FOR HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT? WHENCE THE RED SHIELD AND THE BOUND HAIR AND THE WILD CALL TO BATTLE? THIS LADY LOOKS LIKE OSCAR WILDE, WHICH IS A GREAT THING FOR A LADY TO LOOK LIKE BUT HARDLY PUTS ME IN MIND OF GOING TO WAR WITH THRACIANS OR WHOMEVER
Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein, “Amazons”
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.