The Mounted Amazon Attacked by a Panther (1839, cast 1929)

by August Kiss (1802 - 1865)

Photo Caption: Photo Alec Rogers © 2014 for the Association for Public Art
Philadelphia Museum of Art at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
1839, cast 1929

Commissioned by the Fairmount Park Art Association (now the Association for Public Art)

Owned by the City of Philadelphia


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At A Glance

  • Part of the Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO program

  • The original Amazon sits at the steps of the National Museum of Berlin across from Albert Wolff’s The Lion Fighter

  • This artwork is a cast of the original and sits at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art across from a cast of Wolff’s The Lion Fighter

The Mounted Amazon Attacked by a Panther was the work of German sculptor August Kiss. Caught in the midst of the attack, the figures convey the violence and emotional tension of the moment. The Amazon was installed in 1837 at the steps of the newly built National Museum in Berlin, standing alone for several years until Albert Wolff completed a companion piece, The Lion Fighter. The Fairmount Park Art Association (now the Association for Public Art) acquired the plaster casts for both works in 1889, but the Amazon cast was in such poor condition that it could not be shipped to the United States.

August Kiss's Mounted Amazon on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Photo Caitlin Martin © 2010 for the Association for Public Art

With the assistance of the German government, a new plaster cast was made from the original bronze and exhibited in Memorial Hall until 1909. The decision to commission only American art prompted the Association to present the Amazon as a gift to Harvard’s Germanic Museum. However, once construction began on the new building for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Association arranged to cast another copy so that it could sit across from The Lion Fighter.

Adapted from Public Art in Philadelphia by Penny Balkin Bach (Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1992).

 

RESOURCES:

Museum Without Walls logo: a program of the Association for Public Art

 

Voices heard in the program:

Ann Kuttner is professor of Greek, Roman, and Etruscan art at the University of Pennsylvania.

Judith Schaecter is a Philadelphia-based artist who works primarily in the medium of stained glass.

Thayer Tolles is Associate Curator of American Sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Segment Producer: Ben Shapiro

A program of the Association for Public Art (formerly the Fairmount Park Art Association), Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO is an innovative and accessible outdoor sculpture audio program for Philadelphia’s preeminent collection of public art.

User calls Museum Without Walls Audio for Robert Indiana's LOVE sculpture
Photo Albert Yee © 2010 for the Association for Public Art

A “multi-platform” interactive audio experience – available for free by cell phone, mobile app, audio download, or on the web – Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO offers the unique histories that are not typically expressed on outdoor permanent signage.

Unlike audio tours that have a single authoritative guide or narrator, each speaker featured in Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO is an “authentic voice” – someone who is connected to the sculpture by knowledge, experience, or affiliation. Over 150 unique voices are featured, including artists, educators, scientists, writers, curators, civic leaders, and historians.

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This artwork is part of the Along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway tour, and the Around the Philadelphia Museum of Art tour.

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