Nike of Samothrace is a marble statue which was created in c. 190 BC. The statue is 3.28m high and it can be regarded as an illustration of Hellenistic art. It was unearthed on the island of Samothrace in the Aegean. Dr. Harris and Dr. Zucker stress that this statue is an example of Greek art.
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For example, the sculptor paid a lot of attention to every detail. The viewer can see every detail of the goddess’ drapery. Moreover, the viewer can also see feathers in the goddess’ wings. Furthermore, the statue is an illustration of Greek’s cult of the human body. The viewer can see the muscles which are carved in detail. For example, the figure’s abdominal muscles are made very realistically.
At the same time, Dr. Harris and Dr. Zucker note that the statue is different from the majority of Greek statues as it is in motion. Almost all Greek statues are “reserved” figures. However, it seems that Nike of Samothrace is moving in several directions. The goddess is standing on her feet but her body is moving upwards. Her wings are moving backward. It seems that strong winds are moving the goddess’ drapery and wings.
This motion can be easily explained as Nike was the messenger of the gods. Of course, this goddess was always moving and the statue is also in motion. The sculptor creates a real messenger that is on her way. Notably, researchers think that statue was placed on the prow of some marble ship and it was a part of a temple. Of course, this statue stressed the importance and power of Greek gods and ancient Greeks worshiped them.
Dionysiac frieze is in Villa of the Mysteries which is situated outside the walls of the city of Pompeii. It was created c. 79 BC. The fresco is 15 x 22 feet. Researchers think that the fresco shows some rituals of the cult of Dionysus. However, researchers are still not sure what the frescos really mean. The fresco is on the three walls of a room with a window and a door. The viewer can see the sea from the window. Dr. Harris and Dr. Zucker note that the villa was very close to the sea, but the eruption of Vesuvius made the shore bigger.
The frescos in the room are made on wet plaster. Water colors are used. There is a lot of red in color. This color may be the symbol of wine and the cult of Dionysus. There are also purple, green and blue colors. Notably, the colors are very deep. However, wax and oil were added to preserve the fresco. These materials make the colors so deep.
Dr. Harris and Dr. Zucker note that a lot of figures are depicted. The figures are in groups. Researchers think that some rituals are depicted. Some people are happy to be there, but some are frightened. Dr. Harris and Dr. Zucker stress that the artist manages to create a single space of the fresco. The fresco is on three walls, but there is a feeling of a single space. Moreover, the fresco makes the room bigger. It seems that the fresco is another (bigger) room around the smaller one. Researchers cannot understand some parts of the fresco, but they are sure that the room had great importance for people who lived in the villa. It was the place of worship.
“Dionysiac Frieze.” Smart History. Last modified October 14, 2013, http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/dionysiac-frieze-villa-of-the-mysteries.html.
“Nike of Samothrace.” Smart History. Last modified October 14, 2013, http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/nike-of-samothrace.html.