Archery is an art form. Whether you’re shooting at the range or bowhunting from a tree stand, archery’s sights and sounds can overload your senses.
Just think about the sight of distant targets, that trembling hand pressed to your cheek, or your faltering breath while awaiting the “Thwack!” of each arrow’s impact. Most archers shudder from such emotional experiences. You strain to see the shots in your target, but you might as well be staring up at the Sistine Chapel. Yes, archery is art. Maybe that’s why so many artists portray archery in their work:
Girls Practicing Archery, by John Florea
This black-and-white photograph features several women practicing archery. The women stand with open stances, bows fully drawn. One assumes they’re aiming at a traditional target. Although this photo isn’t dated, it was reportedly a LIFE magazine cover photo. You can buy a print of Florea’s original here.
“Madame de Maison-Rouge as Diana,” by Jean Marc Nattier
This oil canvas was painted by French artist Nattier in 1756. The woman pictured, known as “Diana,” is a representation of Madame de Maison-Rouge, third wife of Étienne de Maison-Rouge. This painting is on display at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Diane de Versailles, by Leochares
Diane de Versailles features the Greek goddess of the hunt, and is commonly known as Artemis With a Doe. The original statue, dating to the fourth century BC, was sculpted in bronze by Athenian artist Leochares. This particular statue is made of marble and stands 6.5 feet tall. Pope Paul IV gave this piece as a gift to King Henri II in 1556. After adorning several French residences, it was placed at the Louvre in 1798.
“Das Kritisierte Bild,” by Robert Elfgen
This piece of modern art was displayed in March 2012 at the Independent in New York. The title translates to “criticized the picture.” Elfgen shot the arrow into his painting.
Mixing Bowl, by the Pan Painter
This mixing bowl dates to about 470 BC in Greece. It features Greek goddess Artemis shooting an arrow at Aktaion, a hunter. This scene is considered one of the greatest Athenian vase paintings. The piece is currently at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.
Oona Chaplin, by Ruven Afanador
This picture was taken for the Fall/Winter 2012 edition of Yo Dona, a popular Spanish magazine. Although the photograph shows a beautiful bow and arrow, it was taken to feature the Elie Saab dress worn by the archer. The artist’s work has been featured in galleries and museums in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the United States.
“Two Archers,” by Samantha French
Although this oil painting looks older, it was painted in 2011 by Minnesota native Samantha French. French graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2005, and is a full-time painter living in Brooklyn, New York. You can buy small or large versions this painting on her website.
“The Combat of Love and Chastity,” by Gherardo di Giovanni del Fora
This painting dates to 1475-1500, and is assumed to be part of a series illustrating the “Triumphs” by the poet Petrarch. This painting shows Chastity’s shield breaking love’s arrows. It’s on display in The National Gallery in London.
Japanese Art of Archery, by JOSS
This photograph was published in Honolulu Magazine in October 2009. It shows Mizue Hasegawa, president and sensei of the Hawaii Kyudo Kai archery club, practicing kyudo, or archery. “We focus on three main goals: shin, the truth; zen, the goodness; and bi, the beauty,” she said. “If you have all three, the arrow should go through the target. But hitting the target is not our main objective.”
The Archer, by Alexandre Kéléty
This gilt bronze statue dates to 1930 and stands 43 inches tall. This piece is credited for making the Budapest sculptor famous. Although this sculpture would beautify an office or small garden, you’d pay a high price for it at auction!