This relief depicting Nike, the goddess of victory, unbinding her sandal dates from around 420 BC and originally served as a decoration on the parapet surrounding the temple of Athena Nike on the Acropolis in Athens. It was rediscovered in 1835 and is today on view in the Acropolis Museum in Athens.
The parapet was decorated with several reliefs showing winged creatures (Nikai) engaged in various tasks in honour of the goddess Athena: sacrificing bulls, adorning trophies or bringing gifts.
Nike Unbinding Her Sandal is one of the best known works of art from classical antiquity. The goddess is shown frontally, apparently in the act of unbinding her sandal before entering the temple, balancing on her left leg as she does so. Her hand reaches down to her right foot, which she has raised off the ground, so all her weight is on her left leg. The slight arch of her body emphasises her gracefulness and perfection and the image is given an erotic charge by the diaphanous garment that clings tightly to her, so that her curves are visible underneath.
Plaster cast; Temple of Athena Nike, Acropolis, Athens; (copy 1927)