WINGED VICTORY OF SAMOTHRACE: WHAT IT REPRESENTS AND WHERE YOU CAN SEE IT
What makes the Winged Victory of Samothrace one of the most beautiful works of antiquity?
The Winged Victory is number two on my list of the most beautiful works of the ancient world after the Laocoönte.
The Winged Victory, like the Laocoönte, was discovered after centuries during which it had been forgotten and its recovery contributed to the increase in its allure.
In this post you’ll find everything you should know about the Winged Victory of Samothrace, what it represents, when it was discovered and where to see it.
The Winged Victory of Samothrace
WHAT THE WINGED VICTORY OF SAMOTHRACE REPRESENTS
The goddess of Victory is represented while coming down from the sky, playing the trumpet to announce the triumph in the battle.
The masterpiece, already famous in ancient times, was discovered and immediately recognized by Charles Champoiseau, who persuaded the French government to buy the statue in order to exhibit it at the Louvre museum.
The Winged Victory of Samothrace celebrated the victory of the Delian league in the battle of the Eurymedon. An event that was celebrated with the construction of a large temple in honour of the Great gods, where the Winged Victory stood while coming down from the sky to a prow of a ship, playing the trumpet to announce the triumph in the battle. The sculpture originally had to be placed on a ship and surrounded by water, which created some reflections on the white marble.
The dress of the Winged Victory is moved by the wind and is a masterpiece of technique and beauty, because the marble was carved in a way that the dress seems to adhere perfectly to the body, allowing the body shape to appear. The left arm is believed to have been raised probably in the act of greeting; while the right arm is believed to have been raised in the act of playing a trumpet.
The studies carried out on this majestic sculpture (it is 2.75 meters high) made scholars understand that the wings, arms and bust were made individually and then put together. That certainly prevented damage during the carving, because it was an impressive statue.
The drapery perfectly hides the lines which mark the point of contact among the pieces.
WHEN THE WINGED VICTORY OF SAMOTHRACE WAS DISCOVERED
The Winged Victory of Samothrace was discovered in 1863 on the island of Samothrace, during the expedition made by the archaeologist Charles Champoiseau.
The statue was already famous in ancient times, and stood for a long time on the altar of the Great Gods of the island of Samothrace, but it was completely forgotten for centuries.
The French archaeologist immediately recognized the Winged Victory described by historical sources, by hundreds of fragments in which the statue had been destroyed by time, and persuaded the French government to buy it immediately.
WHERE YOU CAN ADMIRE THE WINGED VICTORY OF SAMOTHRACE
The Winged Victory of Samothrace is one of the great masterpieces housed at the Louvre museum and it was moved to France practically immediately after its discovery. All the fragments of the statue were put back together at the Louvre in 1864, and during the following years other elements were found.
Napoleon III wanted the Winged Victory to be placed at the Louvre, on the top of the staircase connecting the Galerie d’Apollon with the Salon Carré, where is still located.
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