Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Winged Victory

File:Nike di samotracia 00.JPG

If you have been to our house, you've probably seen the small reproduction of Winged Victory in our bathroom. My aunt and uncle were great travellers in the 50's and 60's, a time when going overseas usually meant boarding a ship and taking an extended holiday. When in Paris, they visited the Louvre and fell for the actual Winged Victory, then couldn't resist buying the souvenir to bring home.

I grew up admiring her in their various homes where she usually overlooked the room she was in from a high pedestal stand. Eventually we welcomed her arrival in our own home. She is made of marble, as is the original, and shows the same sense of being in motion, yet standing in serenity, with the same wonderful draping of the fabric. Maybe the bathroom is a strange place for her, but with the marble counter and mirror behind, I can't think of a better place in the house.

Victory was a Greek goddess, known as Nike and her 8-foot sculpture, by an unknown artisan, dates from the second century BC. She has resided at the Louvre since 1884 after being discovered on the Greek island of Samothrace. Her arms and head were unfortunately not recovered with her body, but one of her hands, discovered much later, is displayed in a nearby display case at the Louvre. At the outbreak of WWII, along with many other priceless art objects, she was given a safer temporary abode outside of Paris.

Along with Venus de Milo and Mona Lisa, Nike is one of the three "great ladies" that are favourites of visitors to the Louvre. Over the next 9 months she is to undergo a complete structural and surface restoration to "gird" her for the future and to restore her lustrous marble finish. The project's estimated cost is $5.27 million.