H: 14 1/4" Cold Cast Marble-like Resin
Gloria Victis ("glory to the vanquished") is a sculpture by Antonin Merciť. Created in 1874, it is currently on display in bronze at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.
Merciť designed this sculpture following France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. He intended to honor those French soldiers who had fallen in the conflict, especially his friend, the artist Henri Regnault (1843-1871).
A winged female allegorical image of Fame carries to glory a dying French hero, his broken sword a sign of defeat. Merciť's original plaster sculpture won a medal at the 1874 Paris Salon, and it was later reproduced in bronze in various sizes.
Why is it called Fame? In Greek mythology, Pheme was the personification of fame and renown, her favour being notability (although the flip side of her wrath was scandalous rumors). She was a daughter either of Gaia or of Hope, was described as "she who initiates and furthers communication," and had an altar at Athens. A tremendous gossip, Pheme was said to have pried into the affairs of mortals and gods, then repeated what she learned, starting off at first with just a dull whisper, but repeating it louder each time, until everyone knew. In art, she was usually depicted with wings and a trumpet.
In Roman mythology, Fama ("rumor") was described as having multiple tongues, eyes, ears and feathers. She is also described as living in a home with 1000 windows so she could hear all being said in the world. Virgil wrote that she "had her feet on the ground, and her head in the clouds, making the small seem great and the great seem greater."
The Greek word pheme translates to English as "fame", or "rumor" depending on its context. English words such as fame are also born from the Latin word fama ("report"), similar to the Latin fari ("to speak").
So in this statue, the winged goddess Fame is carrying the defeated soldier to high glory, and making sure the whole world knows of his sacrifice.
The quality of the casting of this smaller scale reproduction figurine is excellent, with good detail, and the cold cast resin has a natural sheen and weight and will blend well with authentic and more expensive antique pieces.
(some information adapted from Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia)