Nike of Paionios
This celebrated statue, a milestone in the development of ancient Greek sculpture, is the earliest known monumental Nike in Greek art and a characteristic example of the Rich Style. The statue stood atop a tall triangular pedestal preserved to this day near the southeast corner of the temple of Zeus. It was dedicated by the people of Messenia and Naupaktos after their victory against the Lacedaemonians at Sphaktiria in 421 BC. The winged goddess is depicted in flight (for the first time in the history of Greek sculpture) as she descends from Mt. Olympus to announce the triumph of her victorious dedicators. The goddess wears a mantle (himaton) which evokes motion as she breaks through the air, and this motion presses her dress (peplos) against her body exposing a breast and foreleg. She carries a palm branch in her right arm, symbol of fruits of victory. In her left hand is an olive weath (kotinos) to adorn the head of a victor as crown.
Her wings, a large part of the himation billowing behind her and her face are missing. She is light and breezy, draped in a fine chiton originally painted red, which sticks to her body defining in detail her beautiful proportions. Under her feet was an eagle, symbol of Zeus, of which only the head is preserved.