Jenny Prince (jennyprince) wrote,
Jenny Prince

Nike Adjusting her Sandal

Nike Adjusting Her Sandal (410-405 BCE) is a high relief marble panel from the parapet of the Temple of Athena Nike in the Acropolis of Athens. It is a stunning figure, most remarkable for the way in which the fabric covering Nike seems weightless, its near-transparency accentuating rather than covering the form of her body. This achievement in sculpting is a marked digression from the robust but indelicate Kore of the Archaic Period, and seems to designate the Classical artist’s moving away from the well-mastered human form.

Likewise, the city of Athens was embarking on a new and more sophisticated polis. After repeated defeats in the Peloponnesian War, Athens would regain its footing not as a major political power but as the apex of intellectual and artistic achievement. The figure of Nike seems to embody this now-relaxed, confident attitude. Having survived the horrors of war, Nike – the goddess of victory – can afford to leisurely adjust her sandal. Though her face has been lost to the ages, we can infer from her body position and the sensuality of her figure that she is calm, unthreatened, and secure in her place as guardian of Athens’s dominance.


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