Winged Victory of SamothraceFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to: navigation, search"Winged Victory" redirects here. For other uses, see Winged Victory(disambiguation). The Winged Victory of Samothrace Year c. 220-190 BC Type Parian marble Dimensions 328 cm (129 in) Location Louvre, ParisThe Winged Victory of Samothrace, also called the Nike ofSamothrace, is a 2nd century BC marble sculpture of the Greek goddessNike (Victory). Since 1884, it has been prominently displayed at the Louvreand is one of the most celebrated sculptures in the world.Contents[hide] 1 Description 2 History 3 Assessment, reception and influence
4 Gallery 5 Notes 6 References 7 External links DescriptionThe Nike of Samothrace, discovered in 1863, is estimated to have beencreated around 190 BC. It was created to not only honor the goddess, Nike,but to honor a sea battle. It conveys a sense of action and triumph as well asportraying artful flowing drapery through its features which the Greeksconsidered ideal beauty.Modern excavations suggest that the Victory occupied a niche in an open-airtheater and also suggest it accompanied an altar that was within view of theship monument of Demetrius I Poliorcetes (337-283 BC). Rendered in whiteParian marble, the figure originally formed part of the Samothrace templecomplex dedicated to the Great Gods, Megaloi Theoi. It stood on a rostralpedestal of gray marble from Lartos representing the prow of a ship (mostlikely a trihemiolia), and represents the goddess as she descends from theskies to the triumphant fleet. Before she lost her arms, which have neverbeen recovered, Nikes right arm was raised, cupped round her mouth todeliver the shout of Victory. The work is notable for its convincing renderingof a pose where violent motion and sudden stillness meet, for its gracefulbalance and for the rendering of the figures draped garments, compellinglydepicted as if rippling in a strong sea breeze. Similar traits can be seen in theLaocoön group which is a reworked copy of a lost original that was likely closeboth in time and place of origin to Nike, but while Laocoon, vastly admired byRenaissance and classicist artists, has come to be seen[by whom?] as a moreself-conscious and contrived work, Nike of Samothrace is seen as an iconicdepiction of triumphant spirit and of the divine momentarily coming face toface with man. It is possible, however, that the power of the work isenhanced by the very fact that the head and arms are missing.The statue’s outstretched right wing is a symmetric plaster version of theoriginal left one. As with the arms, the figures head has never been found,but various other fragments have since been found: in 1950, a team led byKarl Lehmann unearthed the missing right hand of the Louvres WingedVictory. The fingerless hand had slid out of sight under a large rock, nearwhere the statue had originally stood; on the return trip home, Dr PhyllisWilliams Lehmann identified the tip of the Goddesss ring finger and herthumb in a storage drawer at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, wherethe second Winged Victory is displayed; the fragments have been reunitedwith the hand, which is now in a glass case in the Louvre next to thepodium on which the statue stands.
The statue now stands over a supplementary platform over the prow thatallows a better contemplation but was not present in the original. Thedifferent degree of finishing of the sides has led scholars to think that it wasintended to be seen from three-quarters on the left.A partial inscription on the base of the statue includes the word "Rhodios"(Rhodian), indicating that the statue was commissioned to celebrate a navalvictory by Rhodes, at that time the most powerful maritime state in theAegean. HistoryThe great statue was carefully lowered down a ramp in 1939 when it wasremoved from the Louvre and Paris for safekeeping.The product of an unknown sculptor, the Victory is believed to date toapproximately 190 BC. When first discovered on the island of Samothrace(in Greek, Σαμοθρακη — Samothraki) and published in 1863 it was suggestedthat the Victory was erected by the Macedonian general Demetrius IPoliorcetes after his naval victory at Cyprus between 295 and 289 BC. TheArchaeological Museum of Samothrace continues to follow these originallyestablished provenance and dates. Ceramic evidence discovered in recentexcavations has revealed that the pedestal was set up about 200 BC, thoughsome scholars still date it as early as 250 BC or as late as 180. Certainly,the parallels with figures and drapery from the Pergamon Altar (dated about170 BC) seem strong. However, the evidence for a Rhodian commission ofthe statue has been questioned, and the closest artistic parallel to the Nike ofSamothrace are figures depicted on Macedonian coins. Samothrace was animportant sanctuary for the Hellenistic Macedonian kings. The most likelybattle commemorated by this monument is, perhaps, the battle of Cos in 255BC, in which Antigonus II Gonatas of Macedonia won over the fleet ofPtolemy II of Egypt.
In April 1863, the Victory was discovered by the French consul and amateurarchaeologist Charles Champoiseau, who sent it to Paris in the same year.The statue has been reassembled in stages since its discovery. The prow wasreconstructed from marble debris at the site by Champoiseau in 1879 andassembled in situ before being shipped to Paris.After 1884, the statue was positioned where it would visually dominate theDaru staircase. Since 1883, the marble figure has been displayed in theLouvre, while a plaster replica stands in the museum at the original locationof the Sanctuary of the Great Gods on Samothrace.In the autumn of 1939, the Winged Victory was removed from her perch inanticipation of the outbreak of war. All the museums of Paris were closed onAugust 25. Artwork and objects were packed for removal to locations deemedmore safe outside Paris for safekeeping. On the night of September 3, thestatue descended the staircase on a wooden ramp which was constructedacross the steps. During the years of World War II, the statue sheltered insafety in the Château de Valençay along with the Venus de Milo andMichelangelos Slaves.The discovery in 1948 of the hand raised in salute, which matched a fragmentin Vienna, established the modern reconstruction — without trumpet — of thehand raised in epiphanic greeting. Assessment, reception and influenceThe Winged Victory of Samothrace, side viewDespite its significant damage and incompleteness, the Victory is held to beone of the great surviving masterpieces of sculpture from the Hellenisticperiod, and from the entire Greco-Roman era. The statue shows a mastery of
form and movement which has impressed critics and artists since its discovery.It is particularly admired for its naturalism and for the fine rendering of thedraped garments. It is considered one of the Louvres greatest treasures, andsince the late 19th century it has been displayed in the most dramatic fashion,at the head of the sweeping Daru staircase. The loss of the head and arms,while regrettable in a sense, is held by many to enhance the statuesdepiction of the supernatural.The art historian H.W. Janson has pointed out that unlike earlier Greek orNear Eastern sculptures, Nike creates a deliberate relationship to theimaginary space around the goddess. The wind that has carried her andwhich she is fighting off, straining to keep steady - as mentioned the originalmounting had her standing on a ships prow, just having landed - is theinvisible complement of the figure and the viewer is made to imagine it. Atthe same time, this expanded space heightens the symbolic force of the work;the wind and the sea are suggested as metaphors of struggle, destiny anddivine help or grace. This kind of interplay between a statue and the spaceconjured up would become a common device in baroque and romantic art,about two thousand years later. It is present in Berninis sculpture of David:Davids gaze and pose shows where he is seeing his adversary Goliath and hisawareness of the moment - but it is rare in ancient art.The Victory soon became a cultural icon to which artists responded in manydifferent ways. For example, Abbott Handerson Thayers A Virgin (1892–93) isa well-known painted allusion. When Filippo Tommaso Marinetti issued hisFuturist Manifesto in 1909, he chose to contrast his movement with thesupposedly defunct artistic sentiments of the Winged Victory: "... a race-automobile which seems to rush over exploding powder is more beautifulthan the Victory of Samothrace."The 1913 sculpture Unique Forms of Continuity in Space by the Futuristicsculptor Umberto Boccioni, currently located at the Museum of Modern Art(MoMA) in New York, was highly influenced by the statue. It bears anunderlying resemblance to Nike of Samothrace.Numerous copies exist in museums and galleries around the world; one of thebest-known copies stands outside the Caesars Palace casino in Las Vegas.The Rolls-Royce radiator figurine, Spirit of Ecstasy, was also based on theNike of Samothrace. The first FIFA World Cup trophy, commissioned in1930 and designed by Abel Lafleur, was based on the model.This statue was a favorite of Frank Lloyd Wright and he used reproductions ofit in a number of his buildings, including Ward Willits House, Darwin D. MartinHouse and Storer House.Swedish author Gunnar Ekelöf made Nike a central image in his poemSamothrace, written in 1941, where the faceless deity, arms outstretchedlike sails, is made into a symbol of the fight and the coming victory against
Nazism and the struggle for freedom throughout history. It also features inthe Matthew Reilly novel Seven Ancient Wonders, where it is fictionally madepart of the Statue of Zeus at Olympia.In the parody novel Bored of the Rings, one character distracts another at acrucial moment by pointing into the empty sky and crying "Look! The WingedVictory of Samothrace!" This phrase has passed into science fiction fandomand internet culture as a humorous allusion to overt attempts to distract.The second-largest replica of this statue in the United States stands atCalvary Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is 81" high.On February 3, 1999, according to the Macedonian Press Agency: News inEnglish, "residents of the Aegean island of Samothrace, the birthplace of therenowned Greek sculpture Nike of Samothrace, aka the Winged Victory,embarked on a letter-writing campaign to have this finest extant of Hellenisticsculpture returned to their homeland.In a letter signed by the islands mayor, the locals urged Greek politicians tointervene and request that the Louvre museum, where the statue is kept,acknowledge that the sculpture belongs in its natural environment." Gallery The Daru staircase leads to the statue. The Winged Victory of Samothrace, Painted by Juan Carlos Rogers, oil on canvas
The Winged Victory of Samothrace, back view The Winged Victory of Samothrace copy, Caesars Palace Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA Notes