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AP Art History
Winged Victory of Samothrace
The winged victory of Samothrace is the English name for the Greek goddess Nike, which French archaeologists Charles Champoiseau found in Samothrace Island in 1863. It is currently in the Louvre museum in Paris. it stands 18 feet tall and is made of marble while it lacks a head and arms, It is considered to be one of the greatest surviving masterpieces of Greek sculpture. The artist is unknown and it is thought do you date back to around 190 BC during the Hellenistic period. part of the inscription that can be found under the statute contains the word “Rhodhios” (Rhodes) which shows that the statue was to celebrate the victory of the Navy a Rhodes, the most powerful more time country in the Aegean. The statue has been described as a symbol of victory for the Greeks.
The sculpture stands at about 18 feet tall and depicts the Greek goddess Nike, the goddess of victory. Her wet, wind-blown, clothing clings to her body.She is stepping towards the front of a ship leading historians to believe she was created to commemorate a successful naval battle. Believed to have had a fountain attached. The statues reflection on the water creates a sense of movement and a lightness from the deep carving and change of light. Water would hit the marble giving the sense of being on the shore. In Greek Mythology, Nike was the goddess of speed, strength and victory. Sometimes known as the winged goddess Nike is most often pictured as having wings. Ancient Greeks worshiped Nike because they believed she could make them immortal and could grant the strength and the speed needed to be victorious in any task they took on.
The statute is comprised of angular lines that are used to show movement whether it be with the draped clothing, her beating wings or her curvy body. Originally the statue itself would look different at different times of the day because it would be wet from water, and the light would react differently. The darker color around the drapery contrasts with the white marble of the statue. The different textures of feathers, fabric and skin movement and playing with light and dark and create visual illusions such as the beating movement in the wings. The ship base that the statue stands on top of is perfectly symmetrical however as look over the statue you notice that it becomes asymmetrical, an example of this would be the wings found the very top of the statue, where one wing appears to be larger than the other. The emphasis in this piece is place at the upper chest area your eyes are drawn towards the chest and outward to take in the massive wings.
After viewing and analyzing the Winged Victory of Samothrace, it is hard to believe that the artist is unknown. The artist created a magnificent representation of victory. Is the work is truly finished; if the Goddess’ head might make a difference in the overall emotional effect. There is something beautiful in the way the Goddess’ garment folds. There is strength in the marble ship at her feet. The work stands and displays the glory that is felt after a victory of war.