The Three Graces

The Three Graces, 1815-17, Canova, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland
The Three Graces, 1815-17, Canova, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland

The Three Graces illustrates Canova's outstanding ability to transform cold hard marble into soft lustrous skin. According to Greek mythology the three daughters of Zeus and Euryoneme were called Euphrosyne, Aglaia and Thalia. They were traditionally associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Canova arranged the beautiful sisters in a loose semi-circle so that they complement one another in their poses and gazes, entwined arms and narrow swathes of drapery. The sculpture was commissioned by the 6th Duke of Bedford and installed on a pedestal (which could be rotated) in a specially built Temple at his country house, Woburn Abbey.

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