Winged Victory of Samothrace

Winged VictoryThe Winged Victory of Samothrace is one of the most famous and celebrated of ancient sculptures today. This famous sculpture is also known as the Nike of Samothrace, being a 3rd Century BC marble sculpture of the Greek Goddess of Victory. It has been prominently displayed at the Louvre since 1884.

The Winged Victory was first discovered by Charles Campoiseau, a French diplomat and amateur archaeologist in 1863 on the small island of Samothrace in Greece.

The statue was then sent to Paris the same year after its discovery where it was reassembled in stages. It has since been displayed in the Louvre while a plastic replica stands in a museum in Samothrace where it was originally discovered.

The Winged Victory is actually an incomplete statue with its arms and head missing. The impressive statue was a creation of an unknown sculptor by is considered to be Rhodian in origin. The statue is believed to be date between 220 and 190 BC.

Many ideas are suggested for its creation. Some experts believe that the statue once occupied a certain area of an ancient open air amphitheater. Some suggest that the statue stood in a pedestal that once also served as an altar. Some believe that the statue was created to commemorate a certain naval victory in honor of Rhodians.

The Winged Victory of Samothrace is shown as a winged woman seemingly standing at the prow of a ship. Its pose seems to show the goddess Nike bracing against a strong wind blowing against her flowing garments. Although the arms remain missing, experts believe the right hand was sculpted while cupped around her mouth to denote the winged goddess announcing the event for which the statue was built to commemorate.

The Winged Victory of Samothrace is considered as one of the magnificent masterpieces in Hellenistic art and sculpture. The unknown sculptor might have been very skillful in terms of detailing the richness and the intensity of movement as well as in creating the remarkable visual effects.

The statue shows the mastery of the sculptor in displaying form and movement that has impressed many artists and critics. Although damaged and incomplete with its missing arms and head, these seem to even surround the statue with an air of mystery and imagination that has made the Winged Victory one of the most highly regarded of treasures being displayed inside the Louvre.

 
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