Conservation project for the Winged Victory of Samothrace

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Conservation treatment for the Winged Victory of Samothrace and the Daru staircase is scheduled to begin on September 3, 2013. The project is expected to take more than 18 months to complete and will involve a certain reorganization. The Victory will be unavailable for viewing from September 2013 to Summer 2014.

Conservation project for the Winged Victory of Samothrace
One of the Louvre’s most famous masterpieces, the 2,200-year-old ‘Winged Victory of Samothrace,’ shown here, is disappearing for a nine-month makeover [Credit: Wall Street Journal]

This monument, discovered in 1863 by the French consul and amateur archaeologist Charles Champoiseau on the island of Samothrace, represents the messenger goddess Victory landing on the prow of a ship. Considered a masterpiece of Greek sculpture, it dates probably from the 2nd century BC.

The purpose of the conservation project is to clean the monument, which is made of different kinds of marble. Once the statue has been removed from its boat-shaped base, the 23 blocks that form the boat and pedestal will be dismantled for cleaning; the assembly of the component parts will be verified and previously unused surviving fragments will be incorporated. The cement block currently placed between the statue and the boat will no longer be used, as we now know that there is no scientific justification for its presence.

To find out more about the condition of the monument, a series of analyses will be conducted by the Center for Research and Restoration of the Museums of France (C2RMF). The whole project will be carried out under the watchful eye of a committee of international experts.

Alongside this conservation treatment, the Daru staircase, which provides the perfect setting for the Winged Victory of Samothrace, will have its walls, floors, vaulted ceilings and railings refurbished.

The overall operation will be carried out in several stages: the dismantling and removal of the monument will begin in September 2013. The Winged Victory is expected to be back in place in the summer of 2014. The inauguration of the renovated monument and its staircase is scheduled for spring 2015, when the cleaning of the staircase should be complete. The Winged Victory will then be showcased to its best advantage.

Source: Louvre [August 22, 2013]

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