THE LOUVRE TAKES THE GLORY

Theme: famous sculptures from other countries.

A collection of the Louvre’s most celebrated art pieces, but there’s a twist; they do not belong to them.

The Winged Victory of Samothrace

The “Winged Victory of Samothrace,” also known as the Nike of Samothrace, is a greek monument made of two different types of marble; the statue itself is white Parian marble and the boat and base is made of gray Rhodian marble standing at 5.57 meters (Musee du Louvre). It comes from the island of Samothrace located in the Aegean Sea in north-eastern Greece and was erected in the sanctuary of the Great Gods around 170-55 BC (Barringer 360). The statue is of the messenger goddess Victory or Nike representing a victory for a naval battle (Barringer 360). The monument is of Hellenistic baroque style including usage of drapery as well (Barringer 360). As shown in the image, the hear and arms are no longer attached, but are meant to be sprawled in the air as she balances herself on the prow of the ship (Barringer 360). The drapery of her clothing molds to her upper body showing off her torso and navel while the rest of the deeply sculpted drapery folds between her legs and flows out behind her. Like many other works from the Hellenistic period, the backside of the sculpture is left undone meaning it was only meant to be viewed from the front (Barringer 360). The monument was discovered by Charles Champoiseau, a French archaeologist, and his team on April 15, 1863 (Musee du Louvre). They found the sculpture in parts like pieces of drapery and feathers which lead him to the conclusion that this statue was a representation of the goddess Nike (Musee du Louvre). The final monument was not put unto display at the Louvre til 1884 (Musee du Louvre).

Venus de Milo

Venus de Milo is a marble statue carved by Alexandros of Antioch on the Maeander River around 150 BCE (Britannica, 2021). Standing at 204 cm and made of Paros marble, the statue is meant to represent the Greek goddess Aphrodite (Olivier, 2011). The statue was created during the Hellenistic period and later found in fragments on the Aegean island of Melos on April 8, 1820 (Britannica, 2021). Charles Francois Riffardeau Reviere, the Marquis at the time, presented it to King Louis XVIII of France who later, in 1821, donated it to the Louvre (Olivier 2011).

Venus de Arles

The Venus of Arles is a Hymettus marble sculpture from the Imperial Roman period about 360 BC (Deambrosis, 2006). According to the Louvre Museum, the Venus of Arles is considered the older sister to the Venus de Milo as the statue is also meant to represent Aphrodite and given the many similarities found throughout the style of the statue (Deambrosis, 2006). It was found in the Roman theatre of Arles in 1651 and later restored by sculptor Francois Girardon (Louvre Museum). The Venus of Arles finally arrived to the Louvre Museum in 1798 where it still stands in the Department of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities (Deambrosis, 2006).

Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss

Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss is a grand marble statue depicting the love story of Psyche, daughter of Venus, and Cupid, or also known as god Eros in Latin . It was created by Antonio Canova, an Italian Neoclassical sculptor, in 1794 in Italy (Musee du Louvre). First commissioned in the 18th century by a British art collector and politician, this statue is one of two versions of Cupid and Psyche that exist (“Psyche Revived”, 2021).

The Rebellious Slave

The Rebellious Slave is a marble sculpture by Michelangelo that is part of the “Prigioni,”, its partner is the Dying Slave (“Rebellious Slave,” 2021). The statue was commissioned by Pope Julius II’s heir for the second version of his tomb for the lower portion next to the pilasters of the tomb (“Rebellious Slave,” 2021). The Rebellious Slave was dated to 1513, standing 2.15 meters high with dimensions of 263 centimeters (“Rebellious Slave,” 2021). Both the Rebellious Slave and the Dying Slave were rejected from the final tomb of Pop Julius II and eventually ended up in the Louvre Museum (“Rebellious Slave,” 2021). After the statues were eliminated from the tomb’s design, Michelangelo gave them to Roberto Strozzi who then in turn sent them to the King of France in 1550 (Richman-Abdou, 2020). However, there is many controversy over this exchange as Strozzi had given them away so quickly because of his opposition against the Grand Duke of Tuscany at the time (Richman-Abdou, 2020). After, the two statues found themselves a home in various places until 1795 when a noblewomen tried to illicitly sell the statues (Richman-Abdou, 2020). The French then made the statues their own property and it finally was placed in the Louvre Museum in 1794 (Richman-Abdou, 2020).
The Rebellious Slave, like the other sculptures mentioned stands in contrapposto giving a realistic look and feel. Details of the male anatomy and shape are skillfully carved to also depict the motion and realism of the sculpture. This is also evident in the facial features and expression depicted by the craftsmanship of Michelangelo.

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