The Victory of Samotracia
Hellenistic Greek Art. Marble, 9,022 ft.
Second Century, year 220 to 190 B.C.
The weakening of Athens and other Greek cities' because of the Macedonian domination, and Alexander's conquests, which helped to contact other civilization centers, broke the relationship between the individual and the political and religious system of Greece, supporting all tendencies to personal diversity. This "personalism", not to be considered decadent, is what defines the so-called "Hellenistic" age. One of the new metropolis, Rhodes, keeps its Greek city spirit, no matter its cosmopolitanism and its Asian geographic location.
It was probably an unknown sculptor from Rhodes who created this Hellenistic, worldwide-known masterpiece. This thrilling figure leads us to remember Lisipo's classicism, for its noble harmony, at the same time very baroque, given its pathos and attitude's dynamism, and its rich clothes.
In order to emphasize its original style, the statue was placed upon a ledge, over the theater, standing out above the Sanctuary of Cabiros and the sea. The landscape strengthened this idealistic vision of Hellenism even more, clearly showing Alexander's civilizing efforts, later stopped by the Roman conquest and its successors' rivalry. It's also true that it could have been also influenced by Pergamum.
The statue's tension, almost 10 feet high, its bold dynamism and tumultuous clothes pushed by the wind make it a realistic vision; on the other hand, the sculpture seems to have been made in order to dominate a big natural and architectural area. The masterpiece, that surely commemorated the victory of the Rhodian fleet over Antioco III, was rebuilt with some fragments found in 1863 in Samotracia Island by French consul Charles Champoineau, and nowadays part of the Louvre Museum.
In the first manifesto of Futurism, published in Le Fígaro on February 22 1909, Italian poet Marinetti says: "We assure that the magnificence of the world gets richer with new beauty; the beauty of speed. A racing car decorated with its thick tubes, similar to serpents with explosive halitus...a noisy automobile, that seems to be running over a shrapnel, is more beautiful than the Victory of Samotracia".