AFTER ANTONIO CANOVA, ITALIAN SCHOOL (LATE 19TH/ EARLY 20TH CENTURY)
AFTER ANTONIO CANOVA, ITALIAN SCHOOL (LATE 19TH/ EARLY 20TH CENTURY)
AFTER ANTONIO CANOVA, ITALIAN SCHOOL (LATE 19TH/ EARLY 20TH CENTURY)
AFTER ANTONIO CANOVA, ITALIAN SCHOOL (LATE 19TH/ EARLY 20TH CENTURY)
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These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more PROPERTY FROM A SOUTH AMERICAN COLLECTION
AFTER ANTONIO CANOVA, ITALIAN SCHOOL (LATE 19TH/ EARLY 20TH CENTURY)

The Three Graces, lifesize

Details
AFTER ANTONIO CANOVA, ITALIAN SCHOOL (LATE 19TH/ EARLY 20TH CENTURY)
The Three Graces, lifesize
unsigned, on pedestal
white statuary marble
The marble: 69 in. (175.5 cm.) high; 39 in. (99 cm.) wide; 22 ¾ in. (58 cm.) deep
The pedestal: 30 ¾ in. (78 cm.) high; 43 ¼ in. (110 cm.) wide; 24 ½ in. (62 cm.) deep
(2)
Special notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU or, if the UK has withdrawn from the EU without an agreed transition deal, from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.
Specified lots are being stored at Crozier Park Royal (details below) or will be removed from Christie’s, 8 King Street, London, SW1Y 6QT by 5.00pm on the day of the sale. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. If the lot has been transferred to Crozier Park Royal, it will be available for collection from 12.00pm on the second business day following the sale. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Crozier Park Royal. All collections from Crozier Park Royal will be by pre-booked appointment only. Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060 Email: cscollectionsuk@christies.com. If the lot remains at Christie’s, 8 King Street, it will be available for collection on any working day (not weekends) from 9.00am to 5.00pm

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Lot Essay


The alluring image of the Three Graces, is one that has captured the hearts of artists and onlookers since the time of its creation. Aglaia, Euphrosyne and Thalia were the three daughters of Zeus and the sea nymph Euronyme, as well as the handmaidens of Venus and companions of Apollo. Respectively, they represented elegance, mirth and youth, and beauty. They were often seen in mythology and art presiding over banquets, dances, and pleasurable social events, and brought joy and goodwill to both gods and mortals.

The origins of the sculpted group lies in 4th century BC Greek sculpture where the virtuoso sculptor Praxiteles is believed to have modified one of his iconic marble Venuses and replicated her two further times. The theme continued through the Hellenistic period, as in all the antique interpretations of Aglaia, Euphrosyne and Thalia, the three sisters are depicted as two (Aglaia and Euphrosyne) facing frontally while the central figure (Thalia) faces away. This would have served, in part, to be mildly erotic while also being a clever and dynamic compositional idea. In this stance they would have been seen as part of a decorative scheme in a villa or sculpture gallery with the aim of promoting joy, fortitude and love.

In 1812, the prolific neo-classical sculptor Antonio Canova modified the composition and distanced his composition from the antique prototypes by twisting the central figure, so that she would face the onlooker, and by drawing the sisters closer together, in a warmer and more seductive embrace. Antonio Canova's first group of The Three Graces was commissioned by Empress Josephine in 1812. The marble was completed after her death in 1816 and taken to Monaco by her son, Eugène de Beauharnais. On the latter's death in 1824, the group became the property of the Duke of Leuchtenburg and was transported to St. Petersburg, where it is now kept in the Hermitage. In 1815, John Russell, the 6th Duke of Bedford, commissioned a second version of The Three Graces from Canova. The marble was completed in 1817 and installed in Woburn Abbey two years later. It was acquired in 1994 jointly by the V&A, London, and the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh. This second version of the group is slightly smaller and varies in some details, primarily the rectangular pedestal behind the maidens, which is transformed into a round column. Thus, the present lot, is after Canova's second version. Of Canova's autograph versions, either in marble or plaster, four are recorded. However other studios throughout Italy continued to produce finely carved examples, like the present lot throughout the 19th and into the 20th century.

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