Ancient Greece Blog

Winged Victory of Samothrace

Winged Victory of Samothrace. Photographer Cons Ph

The Winged Victory of Samothrace is among the greatest Hellenistic sculptures in the world. Without doubt, it is one of the most celebrated works of antiquity.

Winged Victory of samothrace

The statue was excavated in 1863 on Samothrace Island by Charles Champoiseau (head of the French Consulate in Andrinople, now Edirne in Turkey). Having left Samothrace at the beginning of May 1863, the statue arrived in Toulon at the end of August and later in Paris on May 11, 1864. There were fifteen other large blocks of grey marble where the statue was discovered, whose form and could not be understood by Charles Champoiseau. In fact, these gray blocks formed the prow of a ship. In the end, he decided to send the statue and the fragments to the Louvre Museum and leave the large grey marble blocks in place.

Winged Victory of Samothrace

Winged Victory of Samothrace. Photographer: Patrice Molinard, 1950.

Nike of Samothrace

Right hand of Nike of Samothrace. Remainings found in 1875 and 1950.

In 1875, the architect of the Austrian archaeological mission working on the Samothrace sanctuary examined the blocks by producing drawings of them. He concluded that they formed the prow of a ship, which formed the basis of the statue. In 1879, they were assembled together with the statue, at the Louvre Museum.

The museum also added a plaster wing to the sculpture—an addition to those remains today—but did not opt to recreate the head or arms. Later, during the excavation from 1950, Karl Lehman and his team of archaeologists found the right palm of the statue in the area where the initial discovery had been made. These parts were also sent to Louvre Museum. The arms and the head of this statue have never been found. It has been speculated she could have held a trumpet or a wreath to commemorate the victory.

O. Benndorf and K. von Zumbusch, Reconstruction of the Victory of Samothrace (1875-1880)

O. Benndorf and K. von Zumbusch, Reconstruction of the Victory of Samothrace (1875-1880)

Wing and metallic frame, detail from the winged victory of Samothrace.

The Winged Victory sculpture probably celebrates the victory of a naval battle in the 2nd century BC. The Greeks represented concepts such as Peace, Fortune, Vengeance, and Justice as goddesses at a very early date. The Victory was one of the earliest of these incarnations. The statue exemplifies the movement, gesture, and rich texturing of the finest Hellenistic sculpture.

In Greek mythology, the goddess of victory was shown as a winged figure who would fly down from Mount Olympus. The main characteristics of the goddess were wings and usually a sense of landing or alighting. Victory 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. As the wet and wind-blown drapery clings to her body, the winged figure triumphantly steps toward the front of a ship.

Greek coin that date between 301 and 292 BC give an idea as to what the Victory of Samothrace might have looked like and demonstrate why the marble blocks were in fact, an integral part of the statue.

Greek coin that date between 301 and 292 BC give an idea as to what the Victory of Samothrace might have looked like and demonstrate why the marble blocks were in fact, an integral part of the statue.

During the Hellenistic period, Alexander the Great’s successors were constantly fighting to take control over the Aegean Sea. The base of the statue thus reminds the warships typically used in this era.

Feautured Image Credit: Photographer Cons Ph via Wikimedia Commons.

Be cheerful, enjoy your life T-Shirt
Price: $21.59
(16 customer reviews)
  • Available on Amazon US, UK, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan stores and Redbubble (worldwide).
  • Fit Type: Men & Women and Youth.
  • Other Products on Amazon (US): Tank TopV-Neck, Premium T-Shirt, Long SleeveSweatshirt, Tote Bag and Pullover Hoodie.
  • This design is inspired by the famous mosaic found in Antioch (modern-day Hatay, Turkey).
  • It says "Effrósinos"which means joyful, full of happiness, cheerful.
 
Cave Canem (Beware of dog) - 2nd Version T-Shirt
Price: $21.59
(3 customer reviews)
  • Available on Amazon US, UK, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan stores and Redbubble (worldwide).
  • Fit Type: Men & Women.
  • "Cave Canem" means "Beware of the dog" in Latin.
  • This design is inspired by the Roman mosaic at the Casa di Orfeo, Pompeii, Italy.
Minoan Octopus T-Shirt
Price: $21.59
(6 customer reviews)
  • Available on Amazon US, UK, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan stores and Redbubble (worldwide).
  • Fit Type: Men & Women and Youth.
  • Other Products on Amazon (US): Tank TopV-NeckPremium T-ShirtLong SleeveSweatshirt.
  • This design is inspired by an ancient Minoan vase. This vase, found at Palaikastro, a wealthy site on the far eastern coast of Crete, is the perfect example of elite Minoan ceramic manufacture.
Owl of Athena T-Shirt
Price: $21.59
(14 customer reviews)
  • Available on Amazon US, UK, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan stores and Redbubble (worldwide).
  • Fit Type: Men & Women and Youth.
  • Other Products on Amazon (US): Tank TopV-NeckPremium T-ShirtLong SleeveSweatshirtTote Bag and Pullover Hoodie.
  • Athena; Greek Goddess of Wisdom and Courage, Civilization and Justice, of Artisanal Skill and Strategic Warfare. The patron Goddess of Athens and her virtues were often represented with the Owl, for its ability to pierce through the gloam of night allows it the vision and perception to see well beyond those who are blinded by the darkness around them. In Athena the Athenians saw the virtues they sought to aspire to, and commemorated her by painting the Owl into their pottery and vases, and would even mint the unblinking and ever-vigilant Owl into their coinage.
 
Owl of Athena T-Shirt (2nd version)
Price: $21.59
(4 customer reviews)
  • Available on Amazon US, UK, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan stores and Redbubble (worldwide).
  • Fit Type: Men & Women.
  • This design inspired by an ancient Greek kalpis (a form of Greek pottery) decorated with Owl of Athena. (ca. 470 BC.)
  • In Greek mythology, a little owl (Athene noctua) traditionally represents or accompanies Athena, the goddess of wisdom, or Minerva, her syncretic incarnation in Roman mythology.
Quetzalcóatl T-Shirt
Price: $21.59
(3 customer reviews)
  • This design was inspired by the Quetzalcóatl bas-relief at the Feathered Serpent Temple in Teotihuacan. Quetzalcóatl was drawn and colored with Mexican colors.
  • The name of Quetzalcóatl comes from the ancient Nahuatl word quetzalli, meaning “long green feather”. The second part of Quetzalcoatl’s name comes from the word coatl, meaning “snake”.
  • In Mesoamerican myth Quetzalcóatl was the god of winds and rain, and the creator of the world and humanity.
  • Available on Amazon US, UK, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan stores and Redbubble (worldwide),
  • Other Products on Amazon (US): Tank TopV-NeckPremium T-ShirtLong SleeveSweatshirt, Pullover Hoodie,
  • Fit Type: Men & Women,
  • Machine wash cold with like colors, dry low heat.

Leave a Comment