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Bathsheba at Her Bath Girl with a Pearl Earring
The Three Graces - Passionate Painting
573    Dibyendu Banerjee    21/07/2020

According to Greek mythology, a ‘Charis’ or ‘Grace’ is one of three or more minor goddesses of beauty, charm, human creativity, and fertility and  together they were known as the Charities  or Graces. They were the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, a nymph of the waterways and clouds. However, it is also said that Helios and the naiad Aegle were their parents. They were considered to be the essence of beauty, charm, and grace and were closely associated with the Nine Muses.

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The Three Graces were Aglaia, symbolizing elegance, splendor and brilliance; Thalia, representing youth, beauty and jubilation; while Euphrosyne signifying gaiety and or elation. They resided above the golden clouds on Mount Olympus and entertained the Olympian gods and goddesses. They sang and danced to the music of the Muses and the lyre of Apollo. They were also associated with the love deities Aphrodite and Eros and considered among the attendants of the gods Apollo, Dionysus and Hermes. At times, the Graces were considered the official goddesses of music, dance, and poetry.

The Three Graces
The Three Graces, by Charles van Loo (L) and Peter Paul Rubens (R)
The Three Graces
The Three Graces, by Francesco Furini (L) and William Etty (R)

The beautiful Grace Sisters were assigned to impart beauty, charm, and goodness upon the young women and to give joy and the feeling of happiness to the people in general.

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As they sang and danced to the music of the Muses, they were closely associated with the Nine Muses and were also considered patrons of music, poetry and dance. While they represent beauty, joy and the arts, the Graces are also considered as the symbols of youth, creativity and fertility. They fill the heart of the viewer with the feeling that the enchanting goddesses were really created to fill the world with pleasant moments, gaiety, peace and goodwill.

The Three Graces
The Three Graces, by Miroslav Kraljevic (1885-1913)
The Three Graces
Édouard Bisson (1856-1939)

The mythological story of the Three Graces was a favourite subject and source of inspiration of many eminent painters and sculptors of the world and they can be easily identified in art as they are most commonly portrayed as a trio of beautiful young women, either in a happy huddle or in dancing postures. Like similar other deities representing beauty, the Graces were originally portrayed clothed in Greek art, but gradually convention came to portray them naked. Apart from appearing in a well-known sculpture by Antonio Canova, the Graces have been painted by famous painters, like Raphael, Rubens, and Paul Cezanne. However, one of the most famous paintings of the Graces is Primavera by Sandro Botticelli, the great Italian artist of the late 1400s.

The Three Graces
Primavera, by Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510)
Bathsheba at Her Bath Girl with a Pearl Earring
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Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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