Nike – A new interpretation of a Greek classic

Nike Render by Jennie Rosenbaum

Digital Render by Jennie Rosenbaum

My portrayal of Nike is slightly more conceptual than most of the pieces in this series will be. The reasoning behind this is due to the fact that Nike is well known, her image is everywhere and I wanted to take a different tack. I wanted to go to the concept behind her myth rather than rely on yet another version of Nike we’ve seen before.

Nike is the goddess of strength, speed and victory, also sometimes considered an aspect of Athena in her warrior mode. I wanted to explore the warrior aspect further. While most images of her are shown with flowing robes and a laurel wreath as a charioteer, I wished a departure from this, a strong, fast warrior wielding a grecian spear. she is someone you wouldn’t want to tangle with, but someone you definitely want on your side. her wings are individual sword blades. her hair is wild and free.

Nike, in this case, is also a symbol for many of the warrior goddesses I’ve come across in pre-history. Their names are often lost, an aspect of fearlessness in battle and strength of will. Many gods and goddesses from older cultures were absorbed into the Greek and Roman belief structures. As one culture prevailed the beliefs of different tribes and regions were appropriated along with it’s people and the similarities of beliefs ended up being merged. Many Proto-Indo-European cultures had similar belief structures with an emphasis on goddesses. As these cultures were subsumed into more Patriarchal Indo-European concepts the male gods rose to favor and the female gods were given lesser positions. Nike is believed to be an appropriated goddess from the Proto-Indo European cultures as her name is rooted on the Proto-Indo European language.

‘Nike’ [Νίκη] is a Greek word pronounced ‘Nee-key’ and it is synonymous with the word ‘Victory’. Its origins are rooted in proto-Indo-European languages to mean ‘first’, ‘victor’ and ‘afore’ from ‘Nikh’, pronounced ‘neekh’.

It is postulated that ‘Nikh’ may have been combined with ‘skei’, to cut or split, to allude to the idea that a victor is separated from all others; or that ‘Nike’ comes from ‘Nei’, to be excited or to shine, and ‘kigh’, fast or violent.

From Goddess of Victory

I took those associated concepts and used them to create a more raw, powerful image. one that seems pissed off at having been watered down and turned into branding. I wanted to bring her back to her roots and explore the concept behind the one we know so well.

If you wish to watch the progress of my paintings be sure to follow my Facebook page! I regularly post my works in progress and sneak peeks.

My latest Exhibition will be in November at the Mission to Seafarers Dome Gallery.

One thought on “Nike – A new interpretation of a Greek classic

  1. Pingback: A NUDIE DIGEST – July 16, 2014 | Nomadic Nudist

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