H: 12" Cold Cast Marble-like Resin
This figurine is a smaller scale reproduction of Antonio Canova’s statue "The Three Graces," a Neo-Classical sculpture, in marble, of the mythological three charites, daughters of Zeus – identified on some engravings of the statue as, from left to right, Euphrosyne, Aglaea and Thalia - who were said to represent beauty, charm and joy. The Graces presided over banquets and gatherings primarily to entertain and delight the guests of the Gods.
One version of the original, made for the Empress Josephine, is now displayed at the Hermitage Museum. A second version commissioned by the Duke of Bedford, is now owned jointly by the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Galleries of Scotland, and is alternately displayed at each.
The piece itself is carved exactingly from a single slab of white marble. Canova's assistants roughly blocked out the marble, leaving Canova to finish the final carving and shape the stone to highlight the Graces’ soft flesh. This was a trademark of the artist, and the piece shows a strong allegiance to the Neo-Classical movement of which Canova is the prime exponent in the field of sculpture. The lines are exquisite, refined and elegant.
The three goddesses are shown nude, huddled close together in embrace, their heads almost touching, in what many have referred to as an ‘erotically charged’ piece. They stand, leaning slightly inward – perhaps discussing a common issue, or simply enjoying being close to one another. Their hair-styles are all similar, with the hair braided and held on top of their heads in a knot.
The style is elegant, and suggests refinement and class – there is a delicate beauty to them that is commonplace in Canova’s sculpture. Art historians have often commented on the peaceful balance that seems to exist between the Three Graces’ heads.
The three slender female figures become one in their embrace, united by not only their linked hands, but also by the scarf which links all of them together. The unity of the Graces is one of the piece's main themes.
The quality of the casting of this 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)