The Graces were also known as the Charities, with a singular of Charis, and represented three or more of Greek mythological minor deities or goddesses. It is believed that they were the daughters of Eurynome and Zeus; in some cases they are considered the daughters of Dionysys and Aphrodite. Others say they were the daughters of Helios and Aegle.
Their names were Aglaea, or splendor; Euphrosyne, or mirth; and Thalia, good cheer. The Underwold is is the area to which they have been linked.
Different parts of ancient Greece have a different number of Graces. Other names have been added which include Peitho, Hegemone, Cale and Pasithea. Sparta did not consider Thalia to be a Grace. Instead Sparta included Cleta in place of Thalia.
The Graces were considered to represent the pleasures of life, such as beauty, charm and creativity.
Additional meanings have been attributed to the three Graces. Aglaea has been linked with elegance and brightness as well as splendor. Thalia represents youth and beauty as well as good cheer. And Euphrosyne represented good cheer or joyfulness as well as mirth.
The Three Graces have been widely depicted in art and sculpture. As companions of Aphrodite, these goddesses of nature are usually shown linked together in a ring, forming a chain with their poses.
Botticelli’s painting, Primavera, as well as paintings by Raphael and Rubens represented the Three Graces in the painting medium; sculpture influenced by these Greek goddesses include a group sculpted by Canova. During the 18th century in France, there was a tradition of painting antique themes; the painter, Regnault, added his rendition of this theme. His painting of the Three Graces now hangs in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.
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