Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ancient Greece (pt. 9)

Other than just sadness, triumph was another emotion expressed in Hellenistic sculpture, exemplified in the Nike of Samothrace.  When we last saw Nike, the goddess of victory, she was fixing her sandal, remember?  Well, here she appears much more powerful and terrifying and glorious.  This sculpture was found perched on a hill in Samothrace in 1875.  Imagine coming across this while on a nature hike.
It was sculpted to celebrate a naval victory.  Nike stands on the prow of a ship, overlooking the island of Samothrace.  Wet drapery was a common element in Ancient Greek statues of women; here it's used to relate an image of the goddess standing firm against an oncoming sea wind and sea spray.  Her flowing, wet robes give the sense of movement introduced during the Classical Period.  This is still considered one of the greatest sculptures in history.  Go to the Louvre to see it in person and you will be awed by its grandeur.

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