Nike of Samothrace
The Nike of Somathrace statue was unearthed in 1863 on the Island of Somathrace in the northwest Aegean. It was found by Charles Champoiseau, a French Vice-Consul to Adrianople (Turkey). She is believed to have been sculpted in the 2nd Century but the style and drapery suggest an earlier date. The date of the Nike of Samothrace is debated, but was probably created between 200 and 190 B.C.E. The statue is life sized with drapery lightly clasping the female body looking as if to be taking one step forward. The work was placed in a rock niche cut into the mountainside that had been dug into a hill that overlooked the Theater of the Sanctuary of the Great Gods. It is believed this niche also previously contained a pool filled with water in which the ship appeared to float. From its placement, it was believed the statue was meant to be seen from the left side which explains why the right side is much less detailed. It is also believed that the head was turned to face the sea. When the statue was found, her head and arms were already missing so artist concluded many possibilities of the positioning of the head and arm. (3, 4) The poet Hesiod explains that Nike was the daughter of the Titan Pallas and the Oceanid Styx. She is the sister of three powerful siblings: Zelos (Rivalry); Kratos (Strength) and Bia (Force). Nike was called Victoria in Roman mythology. Nike fought on the side of the Olympian Gods against the Titans and was considered a manifest representation of the victory of the Olympians. Her powers were not only used for the military, she was victorious in many aspects of Greek life which included athletics. This may be the reason that Nike (the shoe manufacturer) borrowed the name of this goddess. (1) This master piece of visual art embodies the Hellenistic age of art because the sculptures of this time embraced its physical surroundings. Eroticism gained popularity during this period. Hellenistic art was focused more...
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