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Museum of Classical Archaeology Databases

Nike of Samothrace

Hellenistic embodiment of victory.

The winged goddess of Victory (Nike) overlooked the Sanctuary of the Great Gods on the Aegean island of Samothrace. Shortly after its discovery a pedestal in the form of a ship’s prow was found; it is likely that the sculpture, with the strong wind blowing through her garments, commemorated a naval victory. Part of her right hand was discovered in 1950.

The time at which she was discovered was the height of the power of European empires. This, combined with the theatrical pose and the melodrama, makes the Nike a favourite model for modern day victory motifs. The figure on the bonnet of a Rolls Royce is perhaps the best-known example

Number: 
376
Material: 
Marble from Lartos near Rhodes
Location of Original: 

Paris, Louvre 2369

Size: 
2.73m
Accession: 

Purchased in 1884 from the Louvre’s casting service

References: 

Lippold: Griechische Plastik, 360 (n.13), pl. 126.4
Lehmann: Hesperia XXI (1952), 20
Encyclopédie Photographique de l’Art; Musée de Louvre III, 219
Walston: Catalogue of Casts in the Museum of Classical Archaeology (1889), 73, no.350
Pollitt: Art in the Hellenistic Age, 113, pl. 117
Knell: Die Nike von Samothrake
Mark, in Regional Schools in Hellenistic Sculpture (ed. Palagia & Coulson), 157

Date: 
c.200 BCE
Provenance: 

Found on Samothrace in 1863

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