About this artwork

The Three Graces illustrates Canova's outstanding ability to transform cold hard marble into soft lustrous skin. According to Greek mythology the three daughters of Zeus and Euryoneme were called Euphrosyne, Aglaia and Thalia. They were traditionally associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Canova arranged the beautiful sisters in a loose semi-circle so that they complement one another in their poses and gazes, entwined arms and narrow swathes of drapery. The sculpture was commissioned by the 6th Duke of Bedford and installed on a pedestal (which could be rotated) in a specially built Temple at his country house, Woburn Abbey.

This artwork is owned jointly, and exhibited in turn, with the V&A Museum, London, where it is on display now.

Updated 2021

  • artist:
    Antonio CanovaItalian (1757 - 1822)
  • title:
    The Three Graces (Aglaia, Euphrosyne and Thalia)
  • date created:
    1815 - 1817
  • materials:
    Marble
  • measurements:
    173.00 x 97.20 x 75.00 cm
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Purchased jointly with the Victoria & Albert Museum with the aid of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund, Paul Getty II, Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza and public donations 1994
  • accession number:
    NG 2626
  • gallery:
  • depicted:
  • subject:
  • glossary:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
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Antonio Canova

Antonio Canova