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A woman wearing a breastplate and helmet over a toga stands to our left on a platform, gesturing with one arm extended to a group of about a dozen soldiers gathered around her in this horizontal painting. The woman has pale white skin and most of the soldiers have ruddy complexions. The woman stands with her body facing us but she turns her head to our right, looking toward but not at the knot of soldiers clustered there. She leans on her right elbow, on our left, resting on the flat top of a broken column, and she holds a scepter in that hand. Her other arm is raised and her fingers are extended except for the index finger and thumb, which touch to make a circle. Her gold helmet is encrusted with gems and a white plume issues from the top. Her red and gold cloak is fastened around her neck and falls open to reveal her armor and sandal-clad feet. A shield rests on the platform near her feet, and other pieces of armor are scattered on the dirt ground near the platform. A young boy with chestnut-brown curls holds her cloak behind her and to our right. In the lower left corner of the painting, one soldier sits on the edge of the platform, and he twists and looks up at the woman. Several soldiers standing in a group to our right carry shields, banners, and halberds, which are tall, ax-like weapons. The men wear helmets and breastplates, and cloaks in canary yellow, crimson red, and ivory white. The man closest to us stands with his back to us, and he looks over his shoulder at the woman. An animal skin wraps around his shoulders and the head of the animal drapes over his head. More soldiers and tents in the middle distance are painted in almost monochromatic tones of peanut brown and taupe. The sky above is blue with a few white clouds, except for a band of soft yellow along the horizon.

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Queen Zenobia Addressing Her Soldiers, 1725/1730, oil on canvas, Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1961.9.42

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s Queen Zenobia Addressing Her Soldiers

Drawing workshop

Sketchbook Club

  • Tuesday, January 9, 2024
  • 5:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
  • Fun for Kids
  • Virtual
  • Registration Required

Sketchbook Club is recommended for families with children of all ages. Registration is required. 

Join us as we sketch inspired by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s Queen Zenobia Addressing Her Soldiers.

This is one club where you don’t need a membership to join! National Gallery of Art teaching artists lead free, 30-minute sketches inspired by works of art from the National Gallery’s collection. Add new drawings to your sketchbook or just doodle along with us as we explore a different prompt each session.


All you need are a pencil and paper. We encourage you to bring colored pencils, crayons, markers, or paints as well, but these are optional.


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