Queen Zenobia Addressing Her Soldiers

Artist: Giovanni Battista Tiepolo        Year: 1961      Page No: 192

Found In: Hand, John Oliver, and Earl A. Powell III. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection, (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art in Association with Harry N. Abrams, 2004), 192.

The painting Queen Zenobia Addressing her Soldiers by the well known artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo is a best example of power representation in artwork. Very rarely we can get such artworks in history where powerful woman figure is represented in a battle field while addressing her soldiers. This painting has two parts, a back ground and a front ground. The back ground has monochromatic hue of yellow due to which it is quite difficult to make a distinction among soldiers, but soldiers in the front ground are very colorful and having a bright spot of light on them which makes a clear distinction among soldiers. The most prominent figure present in the front ground of this painting is the leading lady standing on the stage. The lady on stage is bigger than others, her gestures demonstrate that she is guiding those soldiers and everyone else is following to her. From the title of this painting we know that the leading figure is the queen Zenobia and she is addressing her soldiers.

In this painting the size of queen is larger and her body is very strong which represents her importance and power. She is wearing an army uniform which reveals the fact that she is playing a role of an army general. The big crown on her head is a symbol of her royal power and representation of her kingship. Her gestures are very commanding and she seems very confident and assertive. We can see that everyone else is nervous and some of them are quite afraid, but the facial expressions and authoritative personality of the queen shows that she is strong enough to face any kind of challenge. In addition to this, her posture and her gestures illustrate that even in a battle field she has a very calm mood. The artist has represented the queen Zenobia in such a way that it shows she is encouraging and enhancing the confidents of her soldiers. Her body language and the easy with which she is standing on the stage show her magnificent power and bravery. The soldiers are listening to her with amaze and some are looking at her awe inspiringly which demonstrates her influential personality. Further, her body is much more masculine in appearance such as, large and chubby body, strong and muscular limbs, but at the same time we can see some very prominent feminine features. For instance, delicate hands, feminine foot wears, painted nails, big eyes, narrow eye borrows, pinkish lips and pointed nose. But these feminine characters do not affect her power or it does not show her weak than any other leader or a king. As a whole her representation is well-built and strong. Moreover, in this painting a person is holding the queen’s feet which also emphases on her power and majesty.

Overall, the intention of artist in this painting is to show the power of queen Zenobia especially in a battle field. This painting represents the critical situation of a battle field where everyone is nervous and seeking helps from others. At that particular moment artist represent the power and assertiveness of queen Zenobia which is more than just showing the royal power, but it also shows her bravery and her strength in battle field. This painting shows the heroic character of the queen Zenobia along with her leadership skills because she is guiding solders in a battle field.


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