copertina sidebar 14-16


  Italian edition

The Three Graces, 1954

The Three Graces, 1954

Tempera and oil on canvas cardboard, 36.5 x 48 cm

In Greek mythology, the three graces were the daughters of Zeus and the nymph Eurynome, and were traditionally represented as young virgins dancing in a circle with arms entwined. Goddesses of joy, charm and beauty, they personified the forces of Nature, and like the Muses, creatively inspired artists and poets alike.

The Three Graces is a theme de Chirico held dear, as evinced by the various versions produced by the artist. This particular painting of 1954 presents various elements from the artist’s “Baroque” period, as evident in the 17th century style brushstroke. The work brings to mind Rubens, who also dedicated himself to the theme. However, more than Rubens, it seems it is another much-loved artist to whom de Chirico was paying attention. In fact, Böcklin’s Hymn of Spring has been indicated as an iconographic source for this work (De Chirico e il museo, 2008, p. 127). In Hymn of Spring, the Swiss painter re-elaborated a famous Pompeian fresco, which he probably had the opportunity to study at Naples’ Museum of Archaeology while visiting Italy in 1863.

While 17th century painting was de Chirico’s prevalent reference during his Baroque period of the 1940s and 1950s, he also paid attention to various themes and passions from his earlier work, in particular to his “Romantic” phase of the 1920s, a period in which he was greatly inspired by Böcklin, Klinger and Courbet. The similarity with the above mentioned painting by Böcklin is found in the figure seen from behind, whose pose and drapery was replicated by de Chirico. (S.V.)

(Original title: Le tre Grazie, 1954, Inv. 117)