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