Winged Victory of Samothrace
Art Work: The Winged Victory of Samothrace
Artist: Pythokritos of Lindos.
Type: Parian Marble
Dimensions: 244 CM
The Winged Victory of Samothrace is an unusual type of artwork. It has been described by many artists as the most outstanding piece of art in the universe. I was discovered in 1863, and it is believed to have been created around 200-190 BC. It was not only designed to honour the goddess Nike, but also to honour the great sea battle. The piece of work portrays an intense sense of action and victory depicted by the flowing drapery as if the goddess is alighting on the prow of a ship.
The artwork consists of a statue of a winged female figure who is the messenger goddess of victory. The base is in the shape of ship’s prow that stands on a small pedestal. The Victory is portrayed as wearing a long chiton of fine cloth that falls in the fold to her feet. With an aim of shortening the skirts, the fabric has been gathered by a belt that is hidden by the folds. The chiton is held in place by another belt that lies beneath the breasts.
The lines that are flowing from the garment are portrayed with intense virtuosity. The fabric that lies just over the stomach and the left thigh is described with wrinkles that appear to skim over the skin underneath. The light cloth is further bunched through narrow folds on the Victory’s sides. The front of the leg is carved with surface incisions that bring out the effect of a light fabric drapery.
The chiton is handled in a striking contrast with the thick, carved and draped folds of the cloak that covers part of the chiton. The himation that is wrapped around the Victory has been left loose at the hip. Further folds have slipped between the legs leaving the right hip and the left leg uncovered. On the other hand, the right leg is covered half-way down the calf. The cloak has been left as streaming behind the figure allowing as to see the inside of the cloth. The unfastened cloak appears to be held against the body by a powerful force of the wind.
It is believed that the artwork formed a significant part of the Samothrace temple complex that was dedicated to the Great Gods. It originally stood on a pedestal of gray marble that represented the prow of a ship (Rogat, 1962). It represented the goddess as descending from the skies to the triumphant fleet; however, her arms were cut and never were they recovered. It is believed that before her arms were cut they had been raised to deliver a loud shout of victory. The work stands out from the rest because of the pose that seems to portray a strong sense of stillness in the middle of violent motion. Also, there exists a graceful balance that is rendered by the draped garments.
The artwork has always impressed artists and critics since its discovery and it is one of the greatest treasures of art. The movement that is depicted in the art is one factor that makes the piece stand out from the others. It has been displayed in the most dramatic fashion in numerous exhibitions. I am for the idea that the artwork is a great piece.
Rogat, Y. (1962). Mr Justice Holmes: A Dissenting Opinion . Stanford Law Review , 3-44.