One of the more striking pieces in Paris’ Louvre, at least in my humble opinion, is this statue known as “Winged Victory”, or the “Nike of Samothrace”. It’s an ancient work dating to around 200 BC, and originates from Samothrace, a Greek island in the north Aegean Sea. Its creator is not known.
The marble statue stands nearly 8 ft tall and depicts Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, wind-blown with her garments clinging to her, triumphantly stepping toward the front of a ship. The work was probably created to commemorate a successful sea battle.
The statue was unearth by French diplomat and budding archaeologist, Charles Champoiseau, in 1863. He reassembled the 23 blocks that comprise the ship and sent the figure of Nike back to Paris in the 3 pieces he found. At the Louvre, the statue was reassembled and a second plaster wing was added, although it remains headless and armless.
In 1939, at the outbreak of WWII, Winged Victory was removed from the Louvre and it and other valued art objects, like “Venus de Milo”, were moved to locations outside Paris for sake keeping.
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