Marble Statue Group of the Three Graces, Marble, Roman

Marble Statue Group of the Three Graces

2nd century A.D.
Overall: 48 7/16 x 39 3/8in. (123 x 100cm)
Stone Sculpture
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
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 162
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.
Said to have been 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)

Said to have been found in 1892 in Rome; until 1909, collection of Joachim Ferroni, Rome; [April 1909, purchased by Hagop Kevorkian at the posthumous sale of the Ferroni Collection, Galleria Sangiorgi, Rome, lot 566]; [after 1909, with Hagop Kevorkian, New York]; [by 1915, with Cesare and Ercole Canessa, New York]; [March 1930, purchased by Joseph Brummer at the posthumous sale of the Ercole Canessa Collection, Anderson Galleries, Inc., New York]; [after 1930, with Joseph Brummer, New York]; [before 1947, purchased by Alexander Iolas, New York]; until 2010, part of the Ophiuchus Collection, New York (Pauline Karpidas); since 1992, 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:

Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC). 1986. Vol. 3: Atherion-Eros. "Charis, Charites/Gratiae," p. 209, no. 126, Zürich: Artemis Verlag.

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, London. 2010. Important Sales of Antiquities and Islamic and Indian Art, 2000-2010. cat. 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.