Friday, April 18, 2008

Winged Victory

The Winged Victory of Samothrace is one of the most intoxicating sculptures. I first met her at the Louvre in 2003. Anything can look beautiful when it is housed at the Louvre, but some works of art take on a whole life there.

I have since revisited Victory (or Nike) often in this picture book, which I purchased for Levi in the Louvre's bookstore.As my sister and mother were heading off to Paris this past autumn, I begged them to say hello to her for me. And take a few pictures. They graciously met my requests and more. They added a gorgeous postcard and mouse pad to my collection. Then, for my birthday, my family gave me the reproduction statue shown above on my armoir. I now have my own Victory.

Someday I will have a lap pool of cobalt blue tiles, fountains of water spraying along its length. A full-sized statue of the Winged Victory of Samothrace will be waiting for me at the end. Proud. Strong. Beautiful. A girl can dream, can't she?

From (please check out the photographs at this link!):

This exceptional monument was unearthed in 1863 on the small island of Samothrace in the northwest Aegean. It was discovered by Charles Champoiseau, French Vice-Consul to Adrianople (Turkey). The goddess of Victory (Nike, in Greek) is shown in the form of a winged woman standing on the prow of a ship, braced against the strong wind blowing through her garments. With her right hand cupped around her mouth, she announced the event she was dedicated to commemorate. The colossal work was placed in a rock niche that had been dug into a hill; it overlooked the theater of the Sanctuary of the Great Gods. This niche may also have contained a pool filled with water in which the ship appeared to float. Given its placement, the work was meant to be viewed from the front left-hand side; this explains the disparity in sculpting technique, the right side of the body being much less detailed. The highly theatrical presentation-combined with the goddess's monumentality, wide wingspan, and the vigor of her forward-thrusting body-reinforces the reality of the scene.


Mumsy said...

That was one of my favorites at the Louvre, too. So pretty to have in your house!

Jennifer said...

Getting to the Louvre is a big dream of mine! Thank you for the fine art treat.

Donna Boucher said...

I took a blurry picture of Winged Victory when we were at the Louvre last April.

Where did you family for the replica. It is very pretty and special.

Elise said...

Hi Heidi

Thank you for introducing me to this sculpture. I enjoyed reading about the history and can see why you refer to it as intoxicating.

What a beautiful gift your family organised, to have your very own reproduction statue of the Winged Victory.

I can see your sparkling blue pool with your beloved sculpture at the end. Sounds like a perfect home for her.

Joni said...

That little Musee Des Enfants at the Louvre put our family out a few Euros as well. We got a beautiful french lotto game and many other lovely learning tools. I missed the book you mentioned, though. And yes, Victory is a beauty isn't she? She sits on our schoo table in the form of a large coffe table book. ;)

Mrs. B said...

I literally gasped when I scrolled down and saw that picture of Winged Victory. She was one of my very favorite things at the Louvre! Do you know where your family found her?

Heidi said...

Donna and Mrs. B~ My sister and mother had this statue at our shop. I'll have to check out where else it might be available and get back to you...