Inventory number
P01670
Author
Rubens, Peter Paul
Title
The Three Graces
Chronology
1630-1635
Technique
Oil
Support
Wooden Panel
Dimensions
220,5 cm x 182 cm
School
Flemish
Theme
Mythology
On display
Yes
Provenance
Colección Real (Real Alcázar, Madrid, bóvedas de Tiziano, 1700, nº 483; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, primera sala de la Furriera, 1747, nº 96; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, estudio de Andrés de la Calleja, 1772, nº 96; Casa de Rebeque, Madrid, 1794, nº 96; Academia, Madrid, sala reservada, 1827, nº 50).

According to Hesiod’s Theogony, there were three Graces: Aglaia, which means radiance; Euphrosine, which means joy; and Thalia, which means flowering. Born of one of Zeus’s affairs, the three Graces were pure virgins who lived with the gods, served at the banquets and fostered joie de vivre. They served Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and were never bored.

Rubens depicts them beside a fountain, under a garland of flowers in a landscape. The figures are based on classical sculpture, which is visible in the artist’s effort to reproduce the coldness of marble in their flesh. The circular rhythm and elegant undulation are customary characteristics of this artist, along with the grandiloquent shapes and warm colors he brought into his painting in his final years.

The figure on the left is directly inspired by his second wife, Hélène Forment. Painted shortly after his marriage, it bears witness to the happiness of the artist’s life, which emerges in the sensuality of his paintings from that moment. This work belonged to the artist until his death in 1640 and was then acquired by Felipe IV and taken to Spain.

 

Share with

X
image facebook image twitter Share on Google+ image Email
Ministerio de Cultura. Gobierno de España; abre en ventana nueva
España es cultura Spain is culture
Copyright © 2014 Museo Nacional del Prado.
Calle Ruiz de Alarcón 23
Madrid 28014
Tel. +34 91 330 2800.
All rights reserved