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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Beauty of the Hellenistic Era

Nike of Samothrace

Sculpted in the hight of the Hellenistic era this magnificent masterpiece precisely defines the theatrical design for which this era in art is known. Before being placed in the Louvre collection, Nike remained on a hillside above the Sanctuary of the Gods on the island of Samothrace. In order to celebrate a great naval victory that took place during the early second century BCE, the sculpture is believed to have been constructed onto a marble warship. The goddess Nike was an obvious choice, being the goddess of victory, to have represented on the prow of this ship. We can acquire this information because of her posture, which also illustrates the Greek contrapposto, and the way her clothing flows in the wind. It is an interesting fact that this statue was supposed to be viewed from the left side. 
As you can see from the picture, Nike less detailed from its right side. But nonetheless, “the theatrical stance, vigorous movement, and billowing drapery of this Hellenistic sculpture are combined with references to the Classical period-prefiguring the baroque aestheticism of the Pergamene sculptors (Louvre).” The deep crevasses worked into the clothing, intensified twisting motion, oppositional forces creating a corkscrew energy, also known as torsion, and the incredible realism of this piece are all characteristics from this one-of-a-kind time period. By this, you can unquestionably tell the many ways which make this sculpture Hellenistic. “The decorative richness, sense of volume, and intensity of movement are characteristic of a Rhodian style that prefigures the baroque creations of the Pergamene school (180-160 BC) (Louvre).”

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