What Is the Nike of Samothrace?


Quick Answer

The Winged Victory of Samothrace is an 18-foot-tall sculpture of Nike, the winged Greek goddess of victory standing on the prow of a ship, seeming to move forward swiftly. The sculpture is comprised of a woman's torso covered by a tunic, with legs and large swept-back wings.

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The sculpture, also known as The Victory, was unearthed in 1863 on Samothrace, an island located in the Aegean Sea off the coast of Thrace in northeastern Greece. French archaeologists unsuccessfully searched for the arms and head. It is likely that the sculptor worked on The Victory between 220 and 185 B.C. This statue of Nike is composed of creamy Parian marble, while the ship on which she stands is carved from dark blue Rhodesian marble. The Victory is widely considered a demonstration of the highest level of Hellenistic technical skill. The sculpture was first placed on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris in 1866.

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