Also known as Bat Zabbai, Zenobia ruled the trading empire of Palmyra, situated between the Persian and Roman Empires, from 250 - 275 A.D. Succeeding her husband as ruler and armed with beauty and charisma, she led great armies into battle on horseback and in full armor, conquering Greece and other Roman lands, eventually to challenge Emperor Aurelian and the entire Eastern Roman Empire. After four years of battles and sieges, Aurelian was able to capture Zenobia as she attempted to escape from her fallen capital and then marched to Rome where she was paraded through the streets in front of her chariot adorned with all her jewels and wrapped in chains of gold, along with all his other prizes of war. Her final destiny was to reside in a villa in Rome for the rest of her days, married to a Roman senator.
For a number of years I regularly attended a live nude model class at our local art center. My technique was to first make a black and white charcoal drawing on toned paper and then use that drawing along with the live model to create an oil painting.
One day, the model was posed standing proudly with a large dowel that she held like a spear. In my mind, I could see her as an Amazon warrior, standing guard on a bluff looking over her lands. I researched Amazonian legends focusing on one of their great queens, Penthesilia, and incorporated her supposed clothing, weapons and background into my painting. I had so much fun doing this that I began researching historic women of power, discovering many fascinating, yet mostly unknown, strong and influential female leaders of the past. This body of work became my "Warrior Women" series and are all created with this nude-to-warrior woman concept.
"Bat Zabbai, Queen of Palmyra" Original 24" x 18" oil on canvas, SOLD, prints available