The Winged Victory of Samothrace

door Michèl Nijdam

The Winged Victory of Samothrace, or Nike of Samothrace, is a marble sculpture of the Greek goddess Nike in the form of a winged woman standing on the prow of a ship, braced against the strong wind blowing through her garments.

The work presents a pose where violent motion and sudden stillness meet. Since 1884, it has been prominently displayed at the Louvre and is one of the most celebrated sculptures in the world.  It was discovered by a French archaeologist in 1863 on the island of Samothrace in the Aegean Sea. It had been housed in a small building at the highest point of the religious sanctuary on the island.


The statue stands 5.57 m highand stands atop the prow of a warship and was intended to commemorate some unknown naval battle. Sadly, no dedicatory inscription has ever been found, so exactly what victory the Victory was celebrating will remain a mystery.