The Horses of Anahita

A work made of plaster.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of plaster.


Modeled 1848/50, cast 1882/1910


William Morris Hunt
American, 1824–1879

About this artwork

The 19th century was marked by a general fascination with exotic lands, their literature, and mythology. In 1846, after reading his brother’s translation of a sixth-century Persian poem about Anahita, the goddess of the night, William Morris Hunt became intrigued with the myth, and he returned to the subject repeatedly throughout his career. Anahita was an important Persian nature deity, probably derived from Babylonian mythology, who was identified with Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. Although the poem describes Anahita fleeing the dawn in her chariot, Hunt did not actually include the deity in this relief. He probably created the relief as a study for his murals in the New York State Capitol, in Albany. The expressive sculpting of the figures—with the horses’ legs modeled fully in the round—captures the drama of the moment in three dimensions.

On View

American Art, Gallery 161


The Horses of Anahita


United States






49 × 74.5 × 31.1 cm (19 5/16 × 29 5/16 × 12 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Restricted gift of Brooks McCormick

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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