The Winged Victory of Samothrace

28 Aug 2012

The Winged Victory of Samothrace.

The Winged Victory of Samothrace.

Champoiseau found it on the Greek island of Samothrace, and thus the statue now bears that island’s name: the Winged Victory of Samothrace.

It was taken back to France, where its genius was quickly appreciated, whence it was taken to the Louvre. There it has sat to this very day in pride of place on a great landing at the top of the Daru Staircase, underneath a high domed ceiling in the Denon Wing of the Louvre in Paris.

Hemmingway? Attenborough? Palin? Try Australian fiction writer, Mathew Reilly. So good that even the French enjoy reading his books.


Regardless of what I think about the Mona Lisa, it’s all moot in the end since there is something much, much better. Standing atop a ship’s prow, light streams down and illuminates this armless, headless beauty. If you sympathise with the Venus de Milo, this girl has it even worse.

While carved from a solid block of marble, her light clothing blows backwards from the sea breeze and looks and feels wet. It looks even better when you get as close as you can and lean over the barrier like the tourist you are.

Getting to the Louvre early may help to avoid the masses that pour up the staircase. That is unless the museum staff take an hour to hold a short notice, fifteen minute union meeting and an almighty queue develops at every entrance. Standing, waiting underneath the arch of the Richelieu Wing was bone-chillingly cold, a contrast to only a few days ago when it was sweltering. Getting here ridiculously early was not such a great move in this instance; if I had arrived a little later I would have been waiting in the warm sunlight and away from the mass of Australians that surrounded me (I lie, they were great queue-buddies to talk to, honest!).