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The Victory of Samothrace

The Winged Victory of Samothrace is a must-see in the Louvre: a paradigm of Greek beauty, the archetype of Hellenistic sculpture.

TravelCurious Tip

Try and see the Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory of Samothrace one after the other to understand the parallels between them.

Powerful imagery

This iconic sculpture is widely admired as one of the finest, if not the finest, demonstration of Hellenistic style, skill, workmanship and vision.

Dated five years either side of 195 BC, it was created to honour the god Nike and remember the sea battle at Samothrace. The headless, winged goddess stands aloft on a plinth shaped like the bow of a ship - shapes combine to give the sense of effortless forwards motion, as if she is descending from the heavens.

In the minds of the audience she is braced against the strong wind blowing through her garments. With her right hand cupped around her mouth, she announces the event she was dedicated to commemorate - the victory of the sea battle at Samothrace.


Technical victory

Like the Venus de Milo, also found in the Louvre, a spiralling effect achieved by the oblique angles of the wings and the placement of the left leg causes the composition to open out in various directions, further emphasised by the clothing blowing between the goddess's legs.

Amazingly, on the torso and upper body, the sculptor has managed to illustrate the transparency of wet clothes in the opaque medium of marble. The naked body is visible beneath, adding life to the victorious scene. The tunic is at once brushing against her body and billowing in the wind.


Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Paris
The Louvre
The Louvre is the biggest museum in the world. Inside you’ll find the jewels of every civilisation since prehistory.
The Mona Lisa
There’s little that can be said about the world's most famous painting that hasn’t been said before. But don’t miss it...
The Venus de Milo
This Ancient Greek statue depicting Aphrodite of Milos is possibly the world's most acclaimed marble masterpiece.
Musee d'Orsay
One of the world's definitive collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art, installed in the former Orsay train station.
'Houses of Parliament'
A superlative example of the Impressionist style developed by Claude Monet, depicting the world in a way that no camera ever could.
Square du Vert-Galant
A beautiful little park, the subject of many photographs and paintings, occupying the western tip of Île de la Cité.

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