Victory of Samothrace

 

I first saw the Winged Victory of Samothrace at the Louvre in the summer of 1989. Back then I didn't truly appreciate its historical significance, but I recall being mesmerized by the sheer elegance and beauty of the pose. The goddess Nike appeared to be confidently striding forward, perhaps just upon alighting, as her hips and lower torso gracefully swing in balance with her extended right leg. My attempt was to sculpt the winged goddess Nike as a tribute to the unknown 2nd century Hellenistic artist of this timeless masterpiece. Sculpting her with kiln fired pottery clay however, allowed - or required me rather - to take some artistic liberties with her hair style and positioning of her arms. Incidentally, historians have a fairly good guess as to what the entire piece may have looked like prior to its destruction, based on ancient coins and a recovered right hand. There is a very informative video on YouTube on the restoration of the Winged Victory by the Louvre that explains this. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Victory of Samothrace

 

Victory of Samothrace

A hairline split formed across her neck during the second firing. This was probably due to the weight of her wings pulling her upper torso back while the terra cotta softened during the firing. The side benefit was the angle and curvature of the wings actually improved overall.

Victory of Samothrace

 

Victory of Samothrace

 

Victory of Samothrace

 

Victory of Samothrace

 

Victory of Samothrace

Wing detail - I actually tried to copy every feather on both wings from the Louvre piece.

 

Victory of Samothrace

Every feather...

 

Victory of Samothrace

Victory at night

 

Victory of Samothrace

Wet clay model at the earliest stage - total sculpting time at this point was about 8 hours.

 

Victory of Samothrace

Wet clay model - this is one of my favorite wallpapers. It captures the piece during my favorite stage of sculpting. Notice the steel support (coat hanger) that held the model vertically until the clay set.

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