Formal Review of the Winged Victory of Samothrace

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The Winged Victory of Samothrace is a marble sculpture that was created to represent the Greek goddess Nike, who like the sculpture, was stated to have wings and was a representation of victory. Due to the historical origins of the sculpture, it may not be feasible to know who the artist was however it is thought to have been sculpted around 200-190 BC in the island of Samothrace (Valérie). The sculpture is made of veined marble speculated to originate from quarries in the Latos islands. The winged victory of Samothrace is presently housed in the Louvre museum in Paris where is presented simply as the artist originally intended it, to be seen in all angles, with one looking up at it. The sculpture is a representation of the religious beliefs of the ancient Greeks and was intended to be worshipped or glorified hence its majesty.

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The sculpture is missing both the head and the arms which add some awe and mystery to the figure that is associated with ancient works of art. This awe is also captured with the sculpture`s swept-back wings and dress that seems to be wafting in the wind which may be an indication of flight or motion, giving the figure a majestic appearance (Chloe). The flapping garment shows a positive form in place of the strong wind that can be seen occupying the undesirable space around the sculpture and also below the wings (Valérie). At over eight feet tall the sculpture has a domineering presence since one can only look up at it.

More detail is found on the left side of the sculpture it is also more polished on this side than any other which could signify that it was initially meant to be viewed from that side and not the front or the right-hand side. The use of line and form is very evident in the Winged Victory of Samothrace, as can be seen from her garments which are intricately folded and carved on the figure`s body (Valérie). This detail creates brilliance, motion, and power all which enhance the glory of the goddess and the victory that the people were celebrating at the time. Lines give the sculpture a smooth texture while at the same time making it appear strong and moveable. This effect creates excitement since it engages one's intellect as well as their emotions since on the surface it appears as being fragile, but upon closer inspection, it exudes strength and triumph (Chloe). The repetitive waves formed by the dress are a source of inspiration, and the multiplicity in the motion of the dress inspires accord and justice.

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The goddess has a strong and sturdy mass in the form of a ship on which she momentarily rests before taking off or landing before a great victory. This ship is solid and sturdy, and it is from this strong foundation that the goddess could be drawing her strength from, which could be a depiction of maritime prowess. Nike has been captured by the artist either touching down or taking off from a ship`s prow (Chloe). It can be observed that neither leg seems to be carrying any weight because the artist seems to have captured the goddess at the height of the story just when she is about to give victory.

The winged victory of Samothrace is a majestic sculpture that is a representation of the art and cultural beliefs that were present during the Hellenistic period. It is a very iconic piece that I wonder how the current effect and appearance would be changed with both the hands and the head. It is also regrettable that the artist who created this sculpture is unknown and if they produced other sculptures or works of art. The sculpture manages to show how dramatic and exciting art from the Hellenistic period was since it accurately expresses the power, and glory that comes with a victory.

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Works cited

Chloe Senn. “Winged Victory of Samothrace.”HUM 120 Course Blog, 26 Sept. 2011, Retrieved from, hum120.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/winged-victory-of-samothrace-2/.

Valérie Foret. “Winged Victory of Samothrace.” A closer look at the Victory of Samothrace | Musée du Louvre. Retrieved from, musee.louvre.fr/oal/victoiredesamothrace/victoiredesamothrace_acc_en.html.

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