Maqbool Fida Husain's paintings embrace the colorful patterns and rhythmic interlocking compositions of George Keyt's work, the Sri Lankan artist whom Husain was first exposed to in a 1941 Mumbai exhibition (see lots 290 and 291). Keyt's preference for women as subject matter are clearly shared by the younger artist and both rely heavily on earth tones, allowing flat areas of color and shape to become definitive characteristics of their work. However, the faceted paintings of Keyt take on an increasingly planar quality in the works of Husain that is more indicative of Western Moderism.
This painting, looking towards ancient Greek mythology, highlights the three attendants of Eros and Aphrodite, Aglaia, Euphrosyne and Thalia. As attendants to the deities of love, the three graces are goddesses of joy, charm and beauty, and preside over ancient celebratory events, including dances, banquets and other joyful occasions. Husain's choice of these sensuous and immortal women from ancient Greece, a subject depicted by artists as divergent as Sandro Botticelli, Peter Paul Rubens and Antonio Canova, demonstrates his ability to seamlessly meld international influences into his distinctive style. The tumult of bodies and shapes in this work seem to melt in and out of each other creating an undulating composition which is well suited to its amorous subject mattter.