Nika of Samothrace - a familiar stranger

Nika of Samothrace - a familiar stranger
Nika of Samothrace - a familiar stranger

This beautiful lady is only a few years old - around 2204. Compared to many other young ladies of a similar origin, she is still very young. Nika arrived at the Louvre from the island of Samothrace, in the Aegean Sea (according to one of the myths, this island was the residence of Poseidon), where in 1863 she honored the vice-consul of France and amateur archaeologist Charles Champoiseau, appearing before his clear eyes not far from the city of Andrinopol. True, the found statue did not have a head. I wonder if it's at the bottom of the sea or in someone's collection?

Nike of Samothrace

History of the find

By the way, the restorers assembled the goddess of victory from fragments only by 1884. The right hand of the statue was found by German archaeologists only in 1950. Nika Samofrayskaya was in no hurry to greet humanity. La Victoire de Samothrace is one of the greatest treasures of the Louvre. And she is exhibited just like that, standing at the top of the Daru stairs leading down, against the backdrop of a bare wall,to further emphasize the fact that true diamonds are good without a rim. See what Nike of Samothrace looks like. The photo, unfortunately, will not show us the true, slightly golden color of the marble, more like slightly tanned skin than a cold stone. Compared to it, the gray marble of the base looks alien.

History of the statue

Sculpture of Nika of Samothrace

The Greek sculptor Pythocritus (although not all researchers are sure of exactly this interpretation) created it around 190 BC. e. in honor of unnamed Greek naval victories. This was the time when the Romans, under the pretext of "returning freedom to the Greek cities" from the invaders from the Macedonians, quickly spread their political and financial influence over all the policies of Greece. And against this background, such a symbol of victory lands on the Samothrace rocks. Although, again, some historians believe that the statue was created precisely in honor of the victory of Antigonus II Gonat over one of the Ptolemies, who reigned on the ruins of Alexander's empire in 263 BC. e. And there is also a version that the goddess Nika of Samothrace was “born” in Rhodes, in honor of the victory over the Syrian fleet. But the story of her appearance on Samothrace must then be more complex. The word Rhodhios (Rhodes) carved on the pedestal speaks in favor of the latest version. The pedestal under the statue is the prow of a Greek warship, and may not really be related to the goddess and the sanctuary of the Kabirs.

Nika of Samothrace photo

About archeology and geography

At the time when herfound, excavations were carried out on the territory of the sanctuary of the Kabirs. These are gods that were not part of the classical ancient Greek pantheon. In the Hellenistic era, many Greeks gathered for the Samothrace mysteries, dedicated to the aforementioned deities. The sculpture of Nike of Samothrace was brought by the Greeks as a gift to the Kabirs. The archaeologist Charles Champoiseau was the French consul in the East for a long time and managed to win the trust of both the Greek peasants and the Turkish authorities. Only this can explain the fact that the Greeks showed him the place where the statue was hiding, and the Turks allowed it to be transported to France. During World War II, the Nike of Samothrace was removed from the Louvre and hid in the dungeon of one of the medieval castles, Valence, located near the Loire in southeastern France. Interesting choice of castle. In 1803 it was bought by Prince de Talleyrand, one of those historical figures about whom one can only say that he knew more about us than we did about him.

All about her

The unkind Erich-Maria Remarque in the "Arc de Triomphe" believes that Nike of Samothrace is "a cheap symbol of emigrants and people without a homeland." Let's try to figure out what exactly led him to such a conclusion? At the same time, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, visiting the Louvre, called Nika "an amazing, inhuman creature." With all the difference in epithets, there is something in common in these terms - a shade of alienation of the goddess to this world. No wonder her mother is the Oceanid Styx. The river of the kingdom of death as the mother of Victory is an analogy unexpected for the Greeks, more typical of the Egyptian and Hermetic tradition. No wonder Nika was sometimes portrayed with the rod of Hermes in her hand.

Nika and traditionsart

Goddess Nike of Samothrace

According to ancient Greek mythology, Nike of Samothrace is the daughter of an oceanid and a titan. Her figurine was often depicted in the hands of a statue of Zeus. This is almost the only case of the presence of another deity next to the lord of lightning. Another hint at the original foreignness of this particular image of the official Greek religious tradition. But it is interesting how she is the flesh of the flesh of all classical art … It seems that almost all the later angels and archangels of the Italian Renaissance were painted with Nike. Whether Italian artists could see this or a similar statue is unknown. But it is she who causes the greatest hatred among fans of mechanized modern art. Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, in the "Manifesto of Futurism" published in 1908, declared: "… a roaring machine, the engine of which runs like a large buckshot, is more beautiful than the statue of Nike of Samothrace." However, a figurine of Nicky is on the radiator of almost all luxury Rolls-Royces.

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