Victory Alighting on Earth

Gilles-Lambert Godecharle

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 552

The Paris-trained Godecharle became the most important Neoclassical sculptor of Belgium. This enchanting statuette served as the model for a relatively stolid marble statue that stands in a niche in the royal palace of Laeken. Ordered at a time when the emperor Napoleon I included Laeken among his possessions, the figure is to be understood in the self-congratulatory context of French victories, interpreted as bringing peace to the world, or at least that part of the world upon which this winged Victory alights—the orb is inscribed with the names of countries of the Mediterranean, including Portugal and Spain, where Napoleon's vast designs by this time had in fact been stymied. Our terracotta girl formerly grasped an olive branch of peace along with the drapery in her lowered hand, while the upraised hand once brandished a trumpet.

Victory Alighting on Earth, Gilles-Lambert Godecharle (Brussels, Belgium 1750–1835 Brussels, Belgium), Terracotta, Belgian, Brussels

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