Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Nike Of Samothrace

As a young 18 year old, just starting University, with really no idea of what I was going to do with my life... I enrolled in an Art History Class. For me, growing up in the middle of no where on our little prairie farm, Art History was the polar opposite of anything I knew or had seen. So there I was, just a small town girl, sitting in a large auditorium, learning and falling in love with great works of art. Our professor would project an image on the screen, recite the details and the historical significance. The moment this statue appeared before me, I fell in love with it.

The Nike of Samothrace, or otherwise known as the Winged Victory of Samothrace, dated around 190BC, was discovered on the island of Samothrace. It was created to honor the goddess, Nike, and commemorate a victorious sea battle at Cyprus. It conveys a sense of action and triumph as well as portraying ideal beauty.  The winged woman once stood  on the prow of a ship, braced against the strong wind blowing through her wet drapery.

Though the statue is significantly damaged, it is considered to be an excellent example of Hellenistic sculpture. The folds of transparent clothes are seen clinging against the body of the goddess as she appears to be descending from the heavens. Her slightly twisted body with outspread wings and the billowing garments create a spiraling effect allowing one to forget that she is carved from marble. 

For me this sculpture represents a full circle moment in my life. From learning about this masterpiece, and fantasizing about someday visiting the Louvre, to then in later years being so fortunate to have been able to travel to Paris not once, but twice to see the awe-inspiring Nike of Samothrace. Something, that if I go back to that young girl sitting in that auditorium many years ago, would never have thought possible. 

Strength, beauty, triumph and victory... Nike of Samothrace, you are my favorite sculpture, and I hope to visit you again someday.


  1. That is one of my favorite statues too. That's fabulous that you were able to see the real one.

  2. I live that statue too! I find it incredible that sculpters could find a way portray such softness and movement in marble! Seeing it in person was awe inspiring!