Roman copy of a Greek work of the 2nd century B.C.
These young girls, linked in a dance-like pose, represent The Three Graces: Aglaia (Beauty), Euphrosyne (Mirth), and Thalia (Abundance). They bestow what is most pleasurable and beneficent in nature and society: fertility and growth, beauty in the arts, harmonious reciprocity between men. They enjoyed venerable cults in Greece and Asia Minor. In mythology, they play an attendant role, gracing festivals and organizing dances. Their closest connection is with Aphrodite, whom they serve as handmaidens. This carefully calculated, frieze-like composition is typical of classicizing art of the second and first centuries B.C. Instantly recognizable, it soon became the canonic formula for representing the Graces, who appeared in every medium and on every kind of object, from mirrors to sarcophagi.
This artwork is meant to be viewed from right to left. Scroll left to view more.
Use your arrow keys to navigate the tabs below, and your tab key to choose an item
Title:Marble Statue Group of the Three Graces
Date:2nd century CE
Dimensions:Overall: 48 7/16 x 39 3/8in. (123 x 100cm)
Credit Line:Purchase, Philodoroi, Lila Acheson Wallace, Mary and Michael Jaharis, Annette and Oscar de la Renta, Leon Levy Foundation, The Robert A. and Renée E. Belfer Family Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. John A. Moran, Jeannette and Jonathan Rosen, Malcolm Hewitt Wiener Foundation and Nicholas S. Zoullas Gifts, 2010
“Found at Capua” (Catalogue Canessa’s Collection, Panama-Pacific International Exposition, 1915, no. 5)
Found in 1892 “sans provenance indiquée” (Déonna 1930, p. 278)
Found in 1892 in Rome at via Torre dei Conti 15, near the Forum of Nerva and Vespasian’s Temple of Peace, 5 meters below the street level (Becatti 1937, p. 42 and Balil 1958, p. 72)
Until 1909, collection of Joachim Ferroni, Rome; [April 1909, purchased by Cesare and Ercole Canessa at the posthumous sale of the Ferroni Collection, Galleria Sangiorgi, Rome, lot 566]; [1909-1924, with C. and E. Canessa, Naples, Paris, and New York]; [1924, acquired by R.K. Apfel, purchased at the Canessa Collection sale at the American Art Galleries, lot 113]; [from before 1929 and until 1930, with Ercole Canessa and his Estate, New York]; [March 29, 1930, acquired by Joseph Brummer for William Randolph Hearst, purchased at the Ercole Canessa Collection sale through the American Art Association Anderson Galleries Inc., New York, lot 127]; 1930-1941, collection of W.R. Hearst, New York; [1941, acquired by Hagop Kevorkian, purchased at the W.R. Hearst Collection sale through Hammer Galleries at Saks Fifth Avenue and Gimbels, New York]; [1941-1962, with Hagop Kevorkian, New York]; 1962-1966, with the Kevorkian Foundation, New York; 1966, acquired by Alexander Iolas, purchased at the Kevorkian Foundation through Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York; from before 1989 and until 2010, part of the Ophiuchus Collection, New York (Pauline Karpidas); 1992 - 2010, on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; acquired in 2010, purchased from Pauline Karpidas.
Jandolo & Tavazzi. 1909. Catalogue de la vente après décès de Mr. Joachim Ferroni. Apr. 14-22, 1909. no. 566, p. 55, pl. XLIX.
1909. Catalogue de la Vente après Décès de Mr. Joachim Ferroni, Apr. 14-22, 1909.. no. 566, p. 55, pl. 49.
Reinach, Salomon. 1910. "Quatre mille statues antiques." Répertoire de la statuaire grecque et romaine, 4. p. 230, fig. 1, pl. 49, Paris: Ernest Leroux.
Canessa, Ercole. 1915. Catalogue Canessa's Collection: Panama-Pacific International Exhibition 1915. no. 5, San Francisco.
Ghislanzoni, E. 1916. "Gli scavi delle terme romane di Cirene." Notiziario archeologico del Ministero delle Colonie, 2: pp. 74–75, 77, figs. 37–38.
Colasanti, Arduino. 1919. Illustrated Catalogue of the Canessa Collection of rare and valuable objects of art of the Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Gothic and Renaissance periods., Private printing. no. 47, New York.
1924. Illustrated catalogue of the art collection of the expert antiquarians C. & E. Canessa of New York, Paris, Naples: consisting of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Gothic and Renaissance sculpture in marble, bronze, stucco, terra-cotta and wood...Jan. 25-26, 1924. lot 113.
Schmidt, Eduard. 1925. "Ubertragung gemalter Figuren in Rundplastik." Festschrift Paul Arndt, zu seinem sechzigsten Geburtstag dargebracht von seinen München Freunden. p. 106, fig. 13, München: Bruckmann.
Deonna, Waldemar. 1930. "Le groupe des trois Graces nues et sa descendance." Revue Archéologique, 31: no. 4, p. 278.
March 29, 1930. An important collection of rare and valuable antiquities ... gathered from famous European collections by the late Ercole Canessa. lot 127.
Becatti, Giovanni. 1937. "Le trè Grazie." Bullettino della Commissione archeologica Comunale di Roma, 65: no. 4, p. 42.
Lullies, Reinhard. 1948. "Zur Drei-Grazien-Gruppe." Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, 1: pp. 47–48, pl. 7.
Balil, Alberto. 1958. "El Mosaico de "Las Tres Gracias" de Barcelona." Archivo Español de Arqueología, 31.97/98:
Love, Iris Cornelia. 1989. Ophiuchus Collection. pp. 60–65, Florence: Centro Di.
Picón, Carlos A., Joan R. Mertens, Christopher S. Lightfoot, and Dr. Seán Hemingway. 2010. "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection 2008–2010." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 68(2): p. 10.
Forge, Oliver and Brendon Lynch. 2010. Important Sales of Antiquities and Islamic and Indian Art, 2000-2010. no. 14, New York: Oliver Forge and Brendan Lynch Ltd.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2012. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. pp. 80–81, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Picón, Carlos A. and Seán Hemingway. 2016. Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World pp. 98–99, fig. 130, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2017. The Artist Project : What Artists See When They Look at Art. pp. 122–23, New York.
Campbell, Virginia L. 2017. Ancient Rome. p. 176, New York: Thames and Hudson.
Zanker, Paul, Seán Hemingway, Christopher S. Lightfoot, and Joan R. Mertens. 2019. Roman Art : A Guide through the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Collection. no. 62, pp. 143, 161–64, New York: Scala Publishers.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2020. ART = Discovering Infinite Connections in Art History. p. 202, New York: Phaidon Press.
Hemingway, Seán. 2021. How to Read Greek Sculpture. pp. 42–43, fig. 29, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Met Collection API is where all makers, creators, researchers, and dreamers can connect to the most up-to-date data and public domain images for The Met collection. Open Access data and public domain images are available for unrestricted commercial and noncommercial use without permission or fee.
We continue to research and examine historical and cultural context for objects in The Met collection. If you have comments or questions about this object record, please complete and submit this form. The Museum looks forward to receiving your comments.
The Museum's collection of Greek and Roman art comprises more than 30,000 works ranging in date from the Neolithic period to the time of the Roman emperor Constantine's conversion to Christianity in A.D. 312.