Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Three Graces by various artists

PD photo: The Three Graces, a statue near the River Panke (Kunst im Schlosspark Pankow an der Panke: Drei Grazien), photo taken on 4 June 2008. The River Panke is a tributary river of Spree in Berlin, Germany.

PD Photo: ‘Muses’ (The Three Graces), a 1st century fresco from the ancient city of Pompeii, which was destroyed by the eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE.

PD Image: The Three Graces (1504-1505), oil on panel painting by Italian painter and architect Raphael (1483-1520), size 17 cm x 17 cm (6.69 in x 6.69 in) located at Musée Condé, Chantilly in France. Compare Image above with this painting; its close resemblance suggests Raphael probably based his work on the Muses of Pompeii.

PD Photo: The Three Graces in Cyrene Antiquity Museum, Cyrene, Libya: The one-room-sculpture museum at Cyrene has collections rivaling many other museums and it contains many invaluable sculptures showing the richness of Cyrene, which was founded by the ancient Greeks. Several exquisite marble sculptures that once adorned ancient buildings in Cyrene.

PD Photo: The Three Graces (Les-Trois-Grâces), created in 1763 by Charles André van Loo (1705-1765), located at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, USA.

The Three Graces by Antonio Canova located at Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.

In Greek mythology, Charites are goddesses of charm, beauty, nature, human creativity and fertility. In art generally they are depicted as three sisters (from youngest to oldest), Aglaea (for beauty), Euphrosyne (mirth) and Thalia (good cheer). In Roman mythology they are known as the Gratiae, or the Graces. The Graces presided over banquets and gatherings organized to entertain the guests of Gods. They have always been very favourite subjects of paintings and sculptures, for instance, Raphael, Antonio Canova, Bertel Thorvaldsen, and others as in the photos above.

The Greek traveler and geographer of the 2nd century AD Pausanias wrote on the representation of the Graces, "Who it was who first represented the Graces naked, whether in sculpture or in painting, I could not discover. During the earlier period, certainly, sculptors and painters alike represented them draped. At Smyrna, for instance, in the sanctuary of the Nemeses, above the images have been dedicated Graces of gold, the work of Bupalus; and in the Music Hall in the same city there is a portrait of a Grace, painted by Apelles. At Pergamus likewise, in the chamber of Attalus, are other images of Graces made by Bupalus; and near what is called the Pythium there is a portrait of Graces, painted by Pythagoras the Parian. Socrates too, son of Sophroniscus, made images of Graces for the Athenians, which are before the entrance to the Acropolis. Also, Socrates was known to have destroyed his own work as he progressed deeper into his life of philosophy and search of the conscious due to his iconoclastic attitude towards art and the like. All these are alike draped; but later artists, I do not know the reason, have changed the way of portraying them. Certainly to-day sculptors and painters represent Graces naked".

The Charities were generally considered as the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome. According to Homer, they were part of the entourage of Aphrodite. The Charites were also associated with the underworld and the Eleusinian Mysteries.

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