Three Graces

Primary Creator
Sculptor Antonio Canova
Contributor(s)
Properties
Era1800s
Height70 inches
StyleNeo-Classical (19th-21st Cent)
Width45 inches
Name of WorkThree Graces
Production Date1814
Production LocationItaly
Current LocationSt. Petersburg, Russia
General Notes

There are two nearly identical carved versions of this work. One in the Hermitage Museum, and another in England that is owned by the Victoria and Albert in congress with the National Museum of Scotland.

Description

A composition of three nubile young women cut from a single slab of marble. The three figures are intended to be the three sisters "The Graces" of mythological story, namely the daughters of Zeus, aka the three charities. However, leaving aside largely irrelevent symbolic meanings of mythology, the work is showing the exquisite beauty of the young female form in multiple poses. It also somewhat ambigously shows the tender relationship between the three women as vaguely sisterly or friendly, though the fact that they are nude and decorously draped with a cloth to shield their private parts lends an unclarity to the composition.

Theme

Quiet repose and sisterly love. The piece exudes a quiet elegance and peacefulness amidst the complex three-dimensional composition. The inclusion of "sisterly love" is less certain, except that taking into account the mythological background of the piece. It can be argued that one should not take that into account, so perhaps that should not formally be included in the theme.

Emotional Sum or Sense-of-life

The female human form is beautiful, graceful, ideal.

Context Information

Canova also produced other versions of this work (a terracotta maquette, and paintings and drawings). This subject (the Three Graces) is one that has been represented throughout art history by many ancient and contemporary artists.

Scale

Survey