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Art & Design

Ladies of the Chariots (Ces Dames des Chars), 1883-1885, Gift of Mr. Walter Lowry

gallery location RA304.PhotoGallery

Ladies of the Chariots (Ces Dames des Chars)

James Tissot French, 1836-1902
Ladies of the Chariots (Ces Dames des Chars), 1883-1885
Oil on canvas
146.1 x 100.7 cm (57 1/2 x 39 5/8 inches)
Gift of Mr. Walter Lowry 58.186

In 1883, Tissot conceived a series of paintings on the subject of modern Parisian women. In The Women of the Chariots, he featured performers at the Hippodrome de l’Alma, a grand arena whose sliding roof could be opened to the sky. Known as Amazons, the charioteers wore costumes of shimmering scales. Their diadems resembled the crown on Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi’s new statue, Liberty Illuminating the World, completed in Paris in 1884 and soon to be installed in New York’s harbor. Like actresses, dancers, and models, the Amazons belonged to a social class known as the demi-monde, available women whose society enlivened Parisian nightlife.

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