Art / English / Sport

The swoosh and the goddess

This is one of the most recognized brand logos in the world, the swoosh from athletic shoes and apparel, Nike.

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The story goes that this logo was influenced by Nike, the Greek winged goddess of victory.

Nike from Samothrace
This is the statue of Nike from Samothrace (Nike from Samothraki, Greece, Νίκη τῆς Σαμοθράκης / Níkê tês Samothrákês), a collection of Musée du Louvre, Paris. I took this picture during my visit to the museum in 2013.

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Nike, the victory goddess is a daughter of Titan Pallas and nymph Styx. She and her siblings (Zelos, Krator and Bia) help Zeus during his battle against the Titans. In legends and stories she is always pictured as a young woman with her victory wings.

This Nike statue at Musée du Louvre is from marble. It measures 5,57 meter high. The gracious artwork is estimated to have been created in the year 200 BC by Phytokritos. The winged victory of Samothrace as this statue is officially called, was discovered in 1863 in Samothrace island by French honorary consul to Turkish empire, Charles Champiseau. He found this statue in pieces. They were sent to Louvre for reconstruction. A couple of years and reconstructions later, Nike has been welcoming Louvre’s visitors elegantly at the Daru staircase.

The swoosh and Nike
The swoosh is said to be influenced by Nike’s wing, but it is depicted upside down. I wrote above it is said because when Carolyn Davidson created it in 1971, the company’s name was not Nike yet, but Blue Ribbon Sports. Anyhow this link with the statue has contributed to the story around the swoosh. Both the logo and the statue complement each other.

My reason to tell you this story is because I love Greek mythology. This is not an advertorial for Nike.

Nike of Samothrace is really impressive to look at. It is actually one of great Hellenistic masterpieces in the world. When you are in Louvre, Nike is surely a must see.

Closing this post, I want to share the following; While Nike the brand is pronounced as Nikey, Nike the goddess is pronounced as Ny-kee. Interesting right?

Sources:
Musée du Louvre
Greek mythology
Nike.com

46 thoughts on “The swoosh and the goddess

    • Iya memang Yang. Aku karena suka legenda Yunani tahu ceritanya. Kalo Olympiade itu memang di Yunani kuno turnamen untuk menghormati Zeus. Di abad 19 baru ada lagi Olympiade seperti yang kita kenal sekarang.

  1. Wow! baru tahu Mbak keterkaitan dan asal usul logo Nike . Aku loyal customernya, tapi tidak pernah berusaha cari tahu asal usul brand yang sudah aku pakai lama untuk aktivitas lari. Pantas saja kalo aku lari seperti pakai sayap, ringan kalo pakai Nike *dihubing2kan heheh. Bukan promosi* Thanks for sharing mbak🙂

    Legenda Yunani itu menarik ya Mbak untuk ditelusuri. Aku ga suka sejarah, tapi selalu suka kalo nonton film yang berhubungan dengan legenda Yunani, seperti Perang Troya. Iliad karya Homeros juga pernah baca bukunya.

    • Ini juga bukan promosi Den🙂 Aku tulis pos ini karena lihat foto yang aku buat di Louvre waktu itu. Terus dihubungkan ke Nike apparel supaya ada cerita extranya.

    • Bisa juga Ji. Ini sebenernya juga hanya dihubung-hubungi oleh marketeernya mereka. Waktu swoosh dibuat nama perusahaannya belum Nike. Cuma seru aja sekarang ada hubungannya dengan mitologi Yunani.

        • Hmm awalnya menurut marketeer Nike swoosh melambangkan gerakan atlit yang melesat gitu. Terus banyak yang diluar Nike yang menghubungkan swoosh dengan Nike of Samothrace, jadi cerita ini diadopsi oleh NIke secara resmi. Katanya kebetulan.

  2. Dan langsung aku teringat zaman masih kerja di salah satu Nike sub-con factory di Bandung. Tujuh tahun di situ dikelilingi sepatu Nike beragam model, season, dan market target.. Setiap hari dapat “sneak preview”, model apa yg akan dirilis di negara mana.. Pernah juga ngobrol soal asal usul nama Nike dengan salah satu executives Nike Office Jakarta.. Duh.., jadi deh nostalgia..😄 Nice post!👍 Thanks for sharing..

  3. ohh. design itu sebutannya swoosh yah? baru tau.. hehe.. makasih mba udah berbagi. hehe.. aku juga suka mitologi yunani, dulu pas SD beli buku2 komik mitologi yunani. haha.. soal zeus, hera, hercules, dll. haha. seru bacain.nya yahh. hehe.

    • Ya namanya Swoosh. Aku suka banget mitologi Yunani. Ruwet, banyak konflik, larger than life dan dewa-dewi berbaur dengan manusia. Mereka bahkan punya karakter sama seperti manusia.

      • iyaa.. apalagi dulu bacanya pas kecil kan.. jadi imagenasi.nya kyk serem2 excited gt. hahaha.. apalagi pas si hera buang bayii dia.. di buku aku di tulisnya, di pegang kaki bayi.nya, trus di puter2 sampe jatuh ke bumi. ~.~`.. lupa tapi itu lagi ceritain apa buku.nya.. cuman inget yg itu, gara2 seremnya. haha

  4. Mitologi Yunani emang keren banget ya. Bisa gitu mereka membuat sebuah dunia penuh dewa yang saling nyambung satu sama lain, padahal kan yang disembah beda-beda di tiap wilayah.

    • Yes, dan pengaruhnya ke dunia itu terasa sampe sekarang. Banyak istilah medis, sastra asalnya dari mitologi Yunani. Psychology dari Psyche, Pandora’s box dll….dll…ah jadi pingin cerita tentang ini cuma musti ngedraft yang bener dulu Anggun🙂

        • Tunggu yah. Musti baca-baca lagi buku tentang Mitologi Yunani untuk detilnya. Aku bingung mau mulai dari mana, dari Titans, Zeus dan saudaranya atau per cerita yang terkenal seperti Odipus, Medea, Narcissus. Aku jadwalkan Anggun. Coming soon.

  5. Baru tahu soal ini Mba. Menarik ya kalau bahas soal sejarah Yunani. Zeus dan lainnya dianggap sejarah ataukah mitologi Mba?

    • Untuk orang Yunani itu sejarah. Banyak orang Yunani yang mengaku mereka keturunan Zeus, banyak kuil pemujaan Zeus, Demeter, Hades and co. tersebar di pulau – pulau Yunani. Untuk aku sih ini hanya mitology dan legends. Bener ngganya, walahualam.

  6. Keren banget post-nya mbak. I learned something new and I must agree the statue is impressive! Beruntung sudah pernah melihat bendanya langsung.

  7. Awesome…. I knew that the logo was related to Nike, but your post let me learn more as you related it with the famous Victoria di Sammotracia…. Stunning information!. Thanks a lot for sharing my friend. Best wishes!, Aquileana😀

    • Gracias Aquileana, coming from you who writes about Greek mythology, this compliment means a lot to me.

      Ah, so that is how it is called en Español, Victoria di Sammotracia? Linda!

  8. Interesting Mba Yo. Love the story about greek mythology. The statue is wonderful. Learn a lot from the post. Thank you! 🙂

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