Exploring The History Of The ‘Winged Victory of Samothrace’ — Louvre’s Most Treasured Masterpiece

Corridors, halls and galleries filled with the works of great masters: the Louvre is one of the largest museums in the world. To see the entire collection would take you at least a week. However, most visitors come mainly for the three famous ladies: the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo and the Nike of Samothrace, or as some may know it as The ‘Winged Victory of Samothrace’.

Magnificent in its symbolism and artisanship, The Winged Victory of Samothrace remains one of the most popular and appreciated sculptures of our day. Exhibited at the Louvre since 1864, this messenger goddess contains endless mysteries that will continue to fascinate us. Become all the more enamored with this author-less masterpiece with KAZoART’s Canvassing the Masterpieces!

The Winged Victory of Samothrace (Photo: muratart’ via Shutterstock)

The Discovery of The Statue

The Victory of Samothrace as we know her today was not discovered in tact. It seems that the goddess originally appeared perched on the bow of a ship. Found in a fragmented state in 1863, her discovery is credited to Charles Champoiseau, an amateur archaeologist.

A cultured diplomat and history buff, he conducted research throughout the Mediterranean region in the 19th century. He made this incredible discovery by exploring the sanctuary of the “Great Gods” on the Greek island of Samothrace (north of the Agean Sea).

The Winged Victory of Samothrace (Photo: muratart via Shutterstock)

The explorer later got his hands on several fragments of the statue that he sent to Paris for analysis and restoration. These additional fragments gave a second life to the goddess personifying Victory. The latter is also called Niké and is not yet known whose handiwork lies at the origin of this sculptural excellence.

However, the story of this amazing discovery doesn’t end there. During his excavations, Charles Champoiseau came across other fragments that didn’t particularly seem special to him. At the time, he didn’t question the discovery of greyish marble blocks. Deeming them unimportant, he left them on the Samothrace site.

(Photo: fritz16 via Shutterstock)

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

Tetradrachma of Demetrios Poliorcète. (293-292 BC). Front: The Winged Victory of Samothrace in front of a ship; Back: Poseidon. / cgb.fr [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
Other expeditions in 1875 added to the statue’s reassembly. During a mission led by the German archaeologist Alexander Conze, the fragments that Champoiseau had abondoned were found to be the ship’s bow – the statue’s missing pieces. Adding these features allows for the winged goddess to reach a height of 5 meters! All of these elements were shipped to Paris separately and assembled on site.

The Winged Victory of Samothrace: a statue full of mystery

Excavation continued in the 1950’s and 1960’s. During this time they uncovered the palm of a marble hand and other blocks that were once at the base of the statue. Some archeologists hold that there are still fragments of the statue left at the discovery site.

The Winged Victory of Samothrace (Photo: muratart via Shutterstock)

Today, the idea of finding other parts of The Winged Victory of Samothrace seems practically impossible. The fact that her arms nor her head have been found still preserves a lot of the mystery around this statue.

Moreover, the right hand of the goddess Nike raises many questions. The shape of her two folded fingers suggests that she was holding a trumpet, cord, or crown in the hollow of her hand.

However, this hypothesis was swept aside in 1950 after a more in-depth study of the position of her outstretched fingers. In reality, The Winged Victory wouldn’t be holding anything. Her extended hand would instead be a simple gesture of salute.

Kayvan Khiabani

This goddess embodies femininity, power and paradoxically, lightness. A symbol of leadership, this emblematic sculpture was likely crafted for a cult. Also an allegory of military victory, she celebrates the triumph of an unknown king.

The Winged Victory of Samothrace (Photo: muratart via Shutterstock)

Zooming in on The Winged Goddess Victory

The Winged Victory of Samothrace depicts a winged woman, draped in fine cloth and a chiton that descends to her feet. Her fabric is tightened at the waist by a belt. This fluid dress gives the goddess a light and airy quality. This is highlighted even more by her absence of head and arms.

Made of Paros marble, her lines sinuous are, her legs are pointed forward, wings extended! The white folds of her garment that gracefully drape her body accentuate the statue’s sense of movement.

Legacy

Today, the Winged Victory of Samothrace remains one of the most celebrated sculptures on earth. Since making its debut at the Louvre in the 19th century, it has inspired countless artists. Surrealist Salvador Dalí directly appropriated this sculpture for his Double Nike de Samothrace (1973), and Futurist Umberto Boccioni employed the figure’s iconic stance for his Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (1913).

While these modern interpretations undoubtedly capture the spirit of the piece, no other Winged Victory can captivate audiences as triumphantly as the original treasure.

Daru Staircase (Photo: jackbolla via Shutterstock)

20 Incredible Images of the Olympics’ Athletes That Show What the Human Body Is Capable of

Tokyo 2020 Olympics has been the topic of the internet recently. Even though there was a delay due to Covid, a lot of athletes were in excellent shape to bring golden medals to their countries. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games launched on Friday 23 July with the opening ceremony, although the sporting action actually kicked off a couple of days earlier. It all comes to an end on Sunday 8 August, with the Olympics officially lasting a total of 17 days.

I can’t even imagine the joy one experiences when they have that gold medal around their neck. All the hard work, the sacrifice pay off in the best way possible. And this is not just a personal win, you’re representing a whole country that has its eyes on you in that moment of competition.

What we see on the TV are just the results of a long preparation. If the athlete wins we are proud, if they lose, we are quick to judge. However, today we want to give you the real image of what happens behind the scenes. There are a lot of things these athletes go through in order to achieve that shape and get qualified for the Olympics. Therefore, today we are bringing some of that footage that often goes unseen. Scroll down below to check it out. And let us know what you think of this year’s Olympic games.

1. Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz became the first Olympic gold medalist for the Philippines

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2. 8 F**king times in Olympics. Take a bow

3. This was Canadian Mark McMorris 11 months ago. Today he is an Olympic Bronze medalist. Amazing.

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4. Feet from Dutch Olympic swimming champion Maarten Van der Weijden after swimming 163 km/101 mi in 55 hours to raise money for cancer research

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5. After sixteen stages in Tour de France I think my legs look little tired

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6. In 2009 J.R. Celski sliced through his entire left quadriceps with his right skate blade at the U.S. Olympic trials

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My first major sports injury happened at the 2010 U.S. Short Track Speed Skating Olympic Trials. It was the competition I had to do well at in order to secure a spot on my first Olympic team. The fall happened in one of the last races of the competition, the 500 meters, known for absolute top speed. I fell in the corner and put the front six inches of my blade straight into my quad. I bounced off the pads with the blade still in my leg, looked down, and had to pull it out myself because of the awkward position that I was in.

I completely severed the VMO “teardrop muscle” and luckily barely missed the femoral artery which might’ve been the end. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever gone through, especially because in the moments after, I started realizing that I might not be able to achieve the goal I set out for in the first place. If not for the people around me including my family, friends, and medical staff, I wouldn’t have been able to get back on my feet, especially in time to go to the Olympics and win two medals.

7. The Difference Between Gold and Silver in the 15km mass start Biathlon

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8. I Was Born With A Condition: Pectus Excavatum. Which I Know Sounds Like A Harry Potter Spell. My Deformity Began Appearing Around Age 10

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My name is Cody Miller. I am not a typical Olympic swimmer. Like most sports the taller you are the better… Most swimmers are incredibly tall, well above 6ft… I’m 5’11 and only weigh 170lbs. More often than not, I’m the smallest person in the pool.

My condition puts stress on my respiratory system. Tests have shown that my sunken sternum and odd placement of other bones have caused a reduced lung capacity… To what extent is unknown. Doctors have said my maximum breathing capacity is likely reduced by 12-20%. Also… I’m diagnosed as asthmatic… Which I learned, from studies run on me in college, has nothing to do with my pectus condition. I live with difficult circumstances as a swimmer. Despite my disadvantages, I’ve dedicated my life to swimming… And I’ve never given up. Like a lot of you, I have struggled with body image problems throughout my life. I struggled with my appearance from a young age. I was a kid who was afraid to take off his shirt in gym class… people thought I was weird. At swim meets, I walked around the pool deck awkwardly while people stared and pointed at me.

I was weird and abnormal… However, I’ve realized this: No one is 100% satisfied with the way they look. Everyone has something about themselves they dislike. And that’s OK! Professional athletes, models… everyone has their own insecurities! I’ve embraced the fact that I have a giant hole in my chest! It’s OK! Monday night. June 27th, 2016 in Omaha Nebraska. USA Swimming Olympic Trials took place at the CenturyLink Center live on NBC, in front of a crowd of 17,500 people, I swam in lane 5 of the Finals of the men’s 100-meter breaststroke.

Only 2 athletes per event qualify for the Olympic Games. 2 swimmers to represent the U.S.A in the 100-meter breaststroke… I’d been dreaming about this moment my entire life. One wrong move and it’s over… The pressure of a lifelong dream… Years and years of training. Thousands and thousands of hours of preparation for a race that lasts 59 seconds… 2 lengths of the pool… 1 start… 1 turn… 1 finish… 1 moment… 1 opportunity… I did it… The feeling is still indescribable… I qualified for the Rio Olympics. My new Olympic teammate and I hug. Seeing the Olympic rings next to my name… I try not to cry… I did… like a baby…

9. Never forget that Australia’s first ever winter olympics gold was won because the guy was coming dead last and everyone in front of him fell over.

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10. Team USA Basketball Player Deandre Jordan (6’11”) and Gymnast Ragan Smith (4’6″)

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11. An x-ray of a gymnast performing an exercise

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12. Leg muscles of the first perfect 10 in olympic history, at age 14. Nadia Comaneci

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13. Ex-World Champion Cyclist Janez Brajkovic Leg After A Race

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14. The hands of Olympic swimming champion van der Weijden after a 163km swim

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15. Hungarian weightlifter Janos Baranyai’s right arm gave, ripping apart ligaments and muscle under the weight

He pushed himself to lift 148 kilograms (326.3 pounds) during the men’s 77kg weightlifting competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

16. Acrobatic Gymnastics Elite And Level 10 Training Camp At Karolyis Olympic Training Site

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17. USA Men’s Volleyball Player David Lee 6’8″ and USA Gymnast Simone Biles 4’8″

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18. Anyone want to hold my hand

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19. Verified on the eve of US nationals

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20. When you spend every day on a bike vs. When you retire and ride casually

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