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"Victory of Samothrace"
Samothrace (island in the North Aegean Sea) Circa 190 BC
For the Greeks, the goddess of Victory (Nike) was a beautiful
young woman endowed with wings. This exceptional monument, raised
upon the isle of Samothrace, set in a niche overlooking the sanctuary
of the Great Gods, celebrates success at sea. The goddess stands
on the prow of a galley, resisting the gusty storm, her right arm
undoubtedly held high. It was an ex-voto of the Rhodians for a victory
won at the beginning of the 2nd century BC: the attitude and the
animated draping prefigure the reliefs for the altar of Pergamum.
"Venus de Milo" Melos (the Cyclades islands) Circa 100 BC
In spite of lacking attributes, the size and the attitude of
this statue allow its identification as a goddess: Aphrodite, often
represented half nude, or Amphitrite, goddess of the sea, venerated
on the island of Melos. The style is characteristic of the late
Hellenistic period, which revives classical themes while innovating.
Thus the slipping drapery on the hips entails a closed stance and
introduces an instancy to the figure. It hides the joint between
the two blocks of marble that were sculpted separately, as were
the left arm and leg, according to an utterly new technique.
The Mona Lisa (1479 - d. before 1550) also known as La Gioconda
Vasari is correct, the portrait which Leonardo took to France, that
was acquired by Francois I, was of the Mona Lisa, who in 1495 married
Francesco di Bartolomeo di Zanoli del Giocondo. The title "La Gioconda"
would thus derive from this notable Florentine's surname. But in
Italian "gioconda" also means a light-hearted woman. With a lasting
effect on Italian art, this portrait stood for an ideal. The smile
that gives her life is, however, a feature of many of Leonardo's
figures. Several scholars have concluded that the portrait was worked
on over a long period, starting around (1505-1506 in Florence, and
it was finished during the course of Leonardo's peregrinations in
Milan or Rome.
extract from The Louvre Official Website / www.louvre.fr