About this artwork
Harriet Hosmer was the leader of a small group of women who studied sculpture in Rome in the 1850s. Her work frequently addresses the theme of strong, independent women who are ultimately punished for seeking a level of power and ambition thought to be inappropriate to their sex. This portrait depicts Zenobia, the queen of Palmyra, who ruled the Syrian city after her husband, Odenathus, died in A.D. 267. Zenobia conquered Egypt and much of Asia Minor before her defeat by the Roman emperor Aurelian in A.D. 272. Portraying the queen at the moment of her capture, Hosmer emphasized Zenobia’s dignity, remarking, “I have tried to make her too proud to exhibit passion or emotion of any kind; not subdued, though a prisoner; but calm, grand, and strong within herself.”
- Harriet Hosmer (Sculptor)
- Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra
- United States
- Inscribed on the back: "HARRIET HOSMER / FECIT ROMAE"
- 86.4 × 57.2 × 31.8 cm (34 × 22 1/2 × 12 1/2 in.)
- Restricted gift of the Antiquarian Society