The Three Graces
Aglaia (radiance) Euphrosyne (joy) Thalia (flowering)

Although various sources for myth refer to different numbers of Graces, most often they are depicted as a trio. And each of these three goddesses represented an individual quality that was revered by the ancient Greeks.

It was the poet Hesiod who named the Graces in his Theogony: "Then Eurynome, Ocean's fair daughter, bore to Zeus the three Graces, all fair-cheeked, Aglaia, Euphrosyne, and shapely Thalia; their alluring eyes glance from under their brows, and from their eyelids drips desire that unstrings the limbs."

Inspired by an unknown Greek artist c. 323-146 B.C.

Relief in plaster
Louvre, Paris

The Three Graces are an often used iconographical subject in classical art. They are immediately recognizable and speak to an understood reference of the female nude as art. A simple, elegant pose of three women dancing, or embracing in a circle, with two facing us and the one in the middle facing away, originates with this Hellenistic era relief in plaster.

Artists recreating this work include Raphael 1504 oil on panel, Peter Paul Rubens 1639 oil on canvas, Sir Edward Burne-Jones c.1890-1896 charcoal and pastel on brown paper, and John Singer Sargent 1921 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston rotunda bas-relief. At least these artists painted full bodies. There are many reproductions of the original headless, footless, plaster relief.

So if this is "an understood reference of the female nude as art" what does THAT say about the role of women?

Headless = no intellect
Footless = no freedom
Only their body has worth.

I've carefully selected quotes from philosophers and comics, song writers, actors, movie makers, even a queen.

Here are a few of the quotes:

If they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home. - St. Paul
A woman must be a cute, cuddly, naive little thing - tender, sweet, and stupid. - Adolf Hitler
What a misfortune to be a woman! And yet, the worst misfortune is not to understand what a misfortune it is. - Kierkegaard
Women are like elephants to me: I like to look at them, but I wouldn't want to own one. - W C Fields

What were they thinking?


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