Avengers at the Museum: 7 Powerful Women in Art

Our Tribute to Women’s History Month

After 10 years and 20 Marvel Universe movies, Captain Marvel blasts into heaters today as Marvel’s first female superhero with a solo movie. Set in the ’90s and featuring a young Samuel J. Jackson and shape-shifting aliens, Captain Marvel set Brie Larson on the road to becoming one of the most powerful Avengers ever.

In excitement for the new movie—and in honor of Women’s History Month—we’ve assembled our own team of Avengers. Of course, considering we spend most of our time in museums, these Avengers are all powerful women featured in painting and sculpture around the world. Maybe we should call these the All-New, All-Female Art-Vengers?

Captain America

Move over, Steve Rogers. Leading this team is another star-spangled hero of World War II: Rosie the Riveter. Rather than bouncing a shiny shield off the heads of Hydra agents, Rosie kept the wartime woman workforce moving full steam ahead. The name first appeared in a 1942 song, and her most iconic image debuted the same year in J. Howard Miller’s famous “We Can Do It!” poster. Fun fact: Uncovering Rosie’s secret identity was something of a scavenger hunt itself.

Iron Woman

Tony Stark calls himself the Armored Avenger, but we’re giving his spot to Joan of Arc, depicted here at The Coronation of Charles VII. While her armor may have lacked repulsor beams and artificial intelligence, the Maid of Orleans made up for it with miraculous visions and stunning military victories. She claimed holy hallucinations led her to break England’s dominion over France during a phase of the Hundred Years’ War. Burned at the stake at 19 years old, she was later declared a martyr and raised to sainthood—a status Tony can only dream of.

The Mighty…Thor?

Wrong pantheon! Instead of a Norse thunder god, we’ve drafted the supreme Hindu warrior goddess herself: the mighty Durga! Just look at her slaying the heck out of that buffalo demon! Not content to wield one lousy hammer, this eight-armed hero brings an entire armory to bear, including Shiva’s enchanted trident.


Replace the dude who’s just a guy with a bow and arrows with the bona fide goddess of the hunt? No-brainer! Diana doesn’t even need a quiver to do her work at museums around the world, including here at the Met Museum. The outfit is…problematic, though. Jarvis, get this goddess a costume!

Black Widow

As the story goes, Judith—a literal widow—seduces and beheads the Assyrian general Holofernes to save her home from imminent destruction. Maybe a little grisly for your average Avengers mission, but dang if it’s not heroic. (She could also give the Avengers’ Scarlet Witch some fashion tips.)


Actually installed high on a museum wall, Kiki Smith’s mysterious Lilith does her best impression of your friendly neighborhood wall-crawler. No idea what her other powers might be, but she sure leans hard into the creepy-crawly part of the Spider-Man name.

The Hulk

Finally, in place of Bruce Banner, who transforms into the Hulk, the Avengers’ nigh-uncontrollable force of destruction, comes the Hindu goddess Kali—transformed here into Chamunda, the Horrific Destroyer of Evil. Wow, what a title! As scary as she is, with skulls in her hair and everything, Chamunda got the name from defeating demons and generally fighting ferociously on the side of good. Sounds like the Hulk, alright.

What do you think? Who would you nominate? Join the conversation on Facebook!