Winged Victory of Samothrace

by CosmoWenman, published

Winged Victory of Samothrace by CosmoWenman Dec 16, 2013

Featured Thing!

68 Share
Download All Files

Thing Apps Enabled

Order This Printed View All Apps



Liked By

View All

Give a Shout Out

If you print this Thing and display it in public proudly give attribution by printing and displaying this tag.

Print Thing Tag

Thing Statistics

123466Views 69588Downloads


Update 6/23/14: I used a compilation of photos of other people's prints of this model in a presentation to LACMA on February 3, 2014. Here's an adaptation of my presentation: 3D Printing, 3D Capture, and Opportunities for Design Custodians. Please share it with anyone you think might be interested — Thanks.

"No classical education is needed to appreciate the personification, nor is it hard to grasp the drama of the figure's action given its superb position--and this is so despite the absence of arms and head; indeed perhaps its maimed condition has helped make the life it retains seem more miraculous."—Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny, Taste and the Antique: The Lure of Classical Sculpture, 1500-1900

An iconic beacon of martial glamour, Winged Victory, the Nike of Samothrace is widely considered Hellenistic sculpture's greatest masterpiece. It was made between 200 and 190 BC, and more than a century ago important works of sculptural art like it were reproduced in plaster to be bought, sold, and traded by museums, universities, art schools, and private collectors around the world. In 1891, high-fidelity, full-scale, nine-foot-tall plaster casts of Winged Victory could be purchased from the Louvre's own atelier for 300 francs.

The customs and commerce driving the plaster cast tradition largely died out in the early 1900s. Many significant cast collections were broken up, with some pieces lost or even deliberately destroyed.

In 1892, a plaster of Winged Victory was carefully cast by the Louvre's atelier under the direction of its master mold maker Eugene Arrondelle and was purchased by the University of Basel. The Basel cast of Victory survives today at the Skulpturhalle Basel museum.

In September 2013, with the museum's permission and the financial support of Autodesk's Reality Capture division, I spent a week working in the Skulpturhalle, taking 3D surveys of my choice of casts. I took hundreds of carefully staged photos of Victory and used Autodesk's ReCap Photo photogrammetry software to process them into this high-quality 3D model.

Winged Victory is one of the world's most celebrated sculptures. It usually stands atop a stone warship's prow at the top of the Louvre's Daru staircase, where it oversees millions of visitors, but in September 2013 the Louvre removed Victory from public view while it undergoes an extensive, year-long restoration.

That restoration effort will include a 3D survey, though the Louvre has not indicated whether they will freely publish the 3D data for which they are soliciting funds. While the original Victory is conspicuously missing, and as the Louvre contemplates what to do with their data, I am happy to provide my own. This capture is to my knowledge the first high-quality 3D survey of Winged Victory to be freely published, and I hope you enjoy direct access to this ancient, dramatic work's mystique.

Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny, quoted above, continue, writing in Taste and the Antique that the Winged Victory of Samothrace "was singled out by Marinetti in his Futurist manifesto of 20 February 1909 as the symbol of the classical culture which the heroic new age of the machine gun and racing car would supercede." I hope this new, 3D captured, digitally published Winged Victory and all its 3D printed iterations might someday be seen as symbols of a new new age, and a different kind of futurism.

You can read more about my project, Through A Scanner, Skulpturhalle, at http://ThroughAScanner.com. I will be publishing more results, including Venus de Milo and the Medusa Rondanini, among others, and cataloging them here: http://thingiverse.com/thing:83781 I post occasional updates on Twitter as well: http://twitter.com/CosmoWenman

If you know anyone who would be interested in sponsoring more of this kind of work by me, please send them my way.


-- Cosmo Wenman
[email protected]

The blue-green 3D print shown in the photos was made with white PLA and finished in patinated copper using Alternate Reality Patinas (coming soon!). It's the very first 3D print made with this survey data, and it was shown at the London and Paris 3D Printshows in November 2013. It's been sold, but I can make another, and another, and another, in unlimited editions.

I am also offering 3D prints of Winged Victory through my Shapeways shop, http://shapeways.com/shops/CosmoWenman
In addition to my Shapeways offerings, I can cast Victory for you in bronze or stainless steel in any size.

Information, Tools, and Specifications:

Nike, The Winged Victory of Samothrace
Skulpturhalle Basel accession number 248
1892 plaster molded and cast from the original by the Louvre atelier under the direction of Eugene Arrondel, with only very slight evidence of parting lines, and a false patina likely added in the 1950s or 1960s.
Skulpturhalle Basel: http://www.skulpturhalle.ch
History of the Skulpturhalle and uses of plaster casts: http://goo.gl/aFX84x
250 JPEGs processed with Autodesk's ReCap Photo cloud-based photogrammetry application: http://recap.autodesk.com, using every other third photo from 752 sequential positions, plus a selection of detail shots.
Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Lens: Sigma EX 50mm
Using a wireless remote shutter release and a loose tripod for shots at eye level and below, and a tripod on extended legs with wheels for shots from above.
Camera settings:
.8 seconds
No flash
5616 x 3744 pixels per shot
Lighting: Normal museum lights plus three additional fixed spotlights, with diffuse light from skylight on a cloudy day.
Scaling, cropping, sectioning, and print preparation of the model was done with Blender on a Windows 7 PC with an overheating NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti graphics card.
Scale references in the raw unedited .obj:
The grey plinth
Victory stands on is 800mm x 1010mm by 348.5mm tall, measured from the floor.
The white balance reference card is 254mm x 216mm.
The "Frauen und Sport" poster is 2000mm wide.
The "Weitere Sportarten" poster is 1700mm wide.
The "Wagenrennen und Reiten" poster is 2188mm wide and 915mm from the floor.
I am having trouble uploading the original .obj and textures of the unedited capture -- they're very large. I'll keep trying and post a link if I wind up hosting it somewhere else.)
The model has been only very lightly re-sculpted with Meshmixer to fix the very top edges of the forward third of the wings where the photos did not get sufficient coverage. A few small areas in some of the valleys in the drapery are inverted, convex where they should be concave, but these were left as-is.

The complete, single-part model will need supports, and you may want to re-orient it depending on what size you are printing.
Most of the multi-part sections print well in PLA with no external supports. Only the "cloak tail" piece needs external supports. I've included variations of a couple pieces with manual supports added under some parts of the drapery -- with these manual supports, there is no need for automatic supports.
I've printed these pieces several times with RepG for file prep and a Replicator1, with zero infill, 3 walls thick, at .2mm layer height. At this scale and print quality the assembled figure is about 20 inches tall, and shows the features well. It is roughly the same scale, human-figure-wise, as my multi-part Venus de Milo model -- they make a nice pair side-by-side.
Other machine and software combos may require different settings.

This project was made possible by the financial support of Autodesk's Reality Capture division. My thanks to Tatjana Dzambazova and Brian Mathews there for making it happen, and to the people in Autodesk's Reality Capture and 123D teams, who make incredible products. http://recap.autodesk.com + http://123dapp.com
Thanks to Dr. Tomas Lochman, director of the Skulpturhalle Basel museum, for giving me access to the museum and allowing me to conduct this experiment in extending the reach of its incredible collection and the spirit that informed its creation. http://www.skulpturhalle.ch
I'd also like to thank the following:
Bernard Frischer, Professor of Informatics and Director of the Virtual World Heritage Laboratory, Indiana University, for his advice on where to try this experiment (e dove non), and for introducing me to Dr. Lochman. http://frischerconsulting.com/frischer/projects.html
FARO, for making a FARO Scanarm Edge laser scanner available to me, and to FARO's Florian Fuenfschilling and Chris Bartschat for their expertise operating it and grabbing some laser scans of additional pieces for me. http://faro.com
Ralph Wiedemeier, who made and lent me a custom, 10' tall tripod on wheels that was absolutely critical. He even delivered it to me from Zurich. http://framefactory.ch
Bre Pettis and Kio Stark for early feedback and advice on my Kickstarter campaign. http://brepettis.com + http://kiostark.com
MakerBot for featuring my Kickstarter on Thingiverse.
Kerry Hogarth of the 3D Printshow, for giving me tickets to the London, Paris, and New York shows to use as Kickstarter rewards, and for exhibition space there to show off the project's results. http://3dprintshow.com
Susan Self for her help promoting the Kickstarter to the media. [email protected]
Virginia Postrel for her advice and help telling the story of the bigger picture as it's been coming into focus. http://vpostrel.com/power-of-glamour
Thank you to all my Kickstarter's backers. Even though it wasn't the viral hit we'd hoped for and the campaign fell through, without their support and help promoting it, the project would have remained dead in the water. http://kck.st/1bxMz0I
-- Cosmo

Related media mentions: http://cosmowenman.wordpress.com/media-mentions/

File Name



All Apps

Auto-magically prepare your 3D models for 3D printing. A cloud based 3D models Preparing and Healing solution for 3D Printing, MakePrintable provides features for model repairing, wall thickness...

App Info Launch App

Kiri:Moto is an integrated cloud-based slicer and tool-path generator for 3D Printing, CAM / CNC and Laser cutting. *** 3D printing mode provides model slicing and GCode output using built-in...

App Info Launch App
KiriMoto Thing App

With 3D Slash, you can edit 3d models like a stonecutter. A unique interface: as fun as a building game! The perfect tool for non-designers and children to create in 3D.

App Info Launch App

Print through a distributed network of 3D printing enthusiasts from across the US, at a fraction of the cost of the competitors. We want to change the world for the better through technology, an...

App Info Launch App

Quickly Scale, Mirror or Cut your 3D Models

App Info Launch App

Treatstock is an online platform that offers decentralized manufacturing services such as 3D printing and CNC machining for clients all over the world. We offer free and instant access to comparati...

App Info Launch App

3D print your favourite design with NinjaPrototype, a professional 3D manufacture with consistent quality and speed.

App Info Launch App

Your work is brilliant, congratulations!

Thank you so much!

I have printed everything, but 20131015WV3body.stl which is to big for my software MatterControl. It is asking my to reduce Polygons to render. I thought that I will just cut it in half and then print the two parts! The software TinkerCad will not accepted a files larger then 25MB. So I am stuck and need your help. Could you please cut Body three is two parts.

Thank you in advance,


I've just uploaded a version with a sparser mesh. The file size is smaller than one of the wing parts, so if MatterControl handled the wing OK, this new one should be OK too. The filename is "20171020WV3body_decimated75pcnt.stl"

Thank you very much for this. I've always wanted one <3

Bravo! Looks beautiful!

The description written in the summary of this beautiful piece is inspiring. I had come across the Winged victory of samothrace by accident when i was looking for marble statues on google images.And again by good fortune, I have found it once more on this website. I feel very fortunate to have this powerful and elegant statue waiting to be printed for me. What a wonderful age we live in! where we can have beautifully recreated art in around five hours. Thank you COSMOWENMAN.

Amazing model! Would it be possible to get a version with both wings separated so they could be printed vertically? Support use would be greatly reduced. I would appreciate it!

Is there a way to get the full-figure under 50 MB?
I'd love to print this beauty being an art historian, but I have a Cube 3 & want to print a smaller one.

I've added a new file, "20150903 WingedVictory Full Scale Decimated to 1MTris"

Oh wow! Thank you so much :) This is beautiful! I am very excited to make a print!

I ve just printed it... so beautiful.
Next week I will go again to see it at the Louvre.

Thanks for sharing

if you were looking for a project:


The Loie Fuller lamp would be an awesome addition to your portfolio and I'd print one for sure.

Really cool Cosmo we have it imported into our virtual museum at http://wa692.avayalive.comhttp://wa692.avayalive.com

how long did it take you to print this awesome piece of art?
thinking of doing it too, but it looks like an awful amount of filament + time

I just saw that I forgot to upload the "cloak tail" piece. I'm uploading it now.

I am attempting to print this model (spectacular work, by the way!), but I believe that "20131015WV4.stl" has been uploaded in a different scale than the other pieces. Do you think you could upload that piece again at the same scale as the rest of the pieces?

I'm pretty sure it's at the correct scale -- several other people have printed the multi-piece model using this part. Maybe you accidentally rescaled it?

You are right. That must be what happened. Sorry for the false alarm.

Printing the 20" tall model's parts at .2mm layer height, 3 walls thick, no supports*, 0% infill**:

Base 5.8 hours
Feet 3.8 hours
2 3.9 hours
3Body 3.5 hours
3CloakTail 1.9 hours (*with raft+external supports)
4 2.1 hours
WingL1 2.1 hours
WingL2 1.7 hours
WingR1 1.8 hours
WingR2 1.5 hours

Total 27.9 hours

prepared my files with RepG0040, which at zero infill still prints
internal crosshatching underneath features that would otherwise be
hanging completely unsupported over empty internal volume. I'm pretty
sure Makerware does the same, but not everyone seems to have as much
luck printing with zero infill (I do it all the time).

I didn't weight mine before painting it, but I estimate it's about 500-to-600grams of PLA.

cool, thanks! I'll give it a try

This is amazing! I look forward to printing these someday soon. I want them in my home to help educate my children on art and culture.

Thanks for the art lesson.

Thank you ! I follow your work and bio since a while, and think it is one of the most wonderful application for 3d printing.
Art for everyone, culture in every head.

Thank you for your work. You are my hero!