This work of The Three Graces by the German painter and printmaker Baldung Grien is also known as The Harmony. He would make it approximately between the years 1541 and 1544, that is to say in full maturity of this artist, since only a year later he would die.
This is one of his most emblematic works and where some of the prototypical characteristics of this painter can be seen. We see perfectly modeled and nude female figures, a common theme in his work. But at the same time he loads those bodies, gestures and faces with so much symbolism and allegory that they end up being complex paintings.
So much so that titles and performances are duplicated. However, in this case it seems clear that it is the Three Graces, an ancient mythological representation, since it dates back to times of classical and pre-classical Greece. And since then it has been represented on countless occasions, from Antiquity to the present day, with images of the Three Graces painted by Salvador Dalí, for example.
The Three Graces of Baldung Grien
And there are even paintings or sculptures of the Three Graces that have become enormously popular, such as those by Rubens, Raphael or the sculptor Antonio Canova. And certainly in the times of Baldung Grien it was a common theme, as evidenced by the representations of his compatriot andcontemporary Lucas Cranach, who was also inspired by classic stories to paint works such as The Golden Age.
The fact is that here the artist presents them to us in a very personal way, since they really do look like fantastic beings under the moonlight. One of them is reading and the other two are looking to the right. In addition to them, three cupids, a swan, sheet music and instruments can be seen, given the link between these graces and music and dance. In fact, throughout history there are many representations of these young women in which they appear dancing, usually naked.
But what is represented in The Three Graces? These are characters that appear in the Theogony written by the Greek writer Hesiod. And the Graces are Aglaya, Eufrósine and Talía, or what is the same, the beauty, joy and ardor. And their respective attributes are roses, myrtle and game dice.
They used to accompany Aphrodite, Eros and Apollo on Olympus. All of them were daughters of Zeus and their function was to preside over the most pleasant banquets and events. Although their functions were not only linked to the joy of living, they were also credited with the power to grant wisdom, eloquence and even genius to artists (perhaps that is why they have been represented so much throughout history.