It has been a long, hot and humid summer. Finally, I am happy to say, we are moving in to autumn. For the last few months, I have been working in the studio on two canvases that I think of as companion pieces. The inspiration for both was taken from my last visit to The Louvre in Paris and the most dramatic entrance to a museum wing ever…the steps leading up to the Winged Victory.
The smaller of my two canvases (Wings 24 x 18″ in oil) is a close up of the torso and wings of the dramatic sculpture. The winged goddess of Victory, who stands on the prow of a ship, overlooked the Sanctuary of the Great Gods on the island of Samothrace.
It was unearthed in 1863 on the small Aegean island. Nike (the goddess of Victory in Greek) is facing in to the wind which is blowing her garments against and behind her. This was one of my favorite parts to paint. To concentrate on the delicate folds cut from stone, was to admire the fantastic skill of a long gone artist.
I loved doing this piece. Revisiting another artists’ work in detail is one of the most challenging and enjoyable parts of this series of museum galleries in my “Cities” series.
Accompanying this canvas is the 24 x 36″ canvas, Ascent. I worked back and forth between the two pieces using the same color palette for each. Obviously Wings was more monochromatic, but it still felt at home with the palette of Ascent.
The original statue can be dated back to the second century BC. It is just as impressive today, centuries later, as you approach it up the massive stone staircase in the Louvre, as I imagine it was when approached in Hellenistic times.
To me, it creates an almost church like approach for the masses of tourists entering the staircase.
Each individual hurrying towards or away from the classical work cannot ignore it.
The very theatrical approach allows the Winged Victory of Samothrace to dominate the entire scene. Every time I have seen it, I have been in awe.