This is who she is!

statue with a weary unimpressed expression

So I posted a picture of this statue a few days ago. She was looking down on me with a withering gaze while I was squirting toxic plant juice in my eye. I was trying to work out what she was holding (it’s a kitten, definitely) and Calmgrove wondered who she actually was and if she was holding an owl (clearly not, because it’s a kitten). And now I know, she’s one of the three Graces (you can see part of the face of another one on the left.)

The number of Graces varied in different legends, but usually there were three: Aglaia (Brightness), Euphrosyne (Joyfulness), and Thalia (Bloom). They are said to be daughters of Zeus and Hera (or Eurynome, daughter of Oceanus) or of Helios and Aegle, a daughter of Zeus.


To try and work out which particular Grace this is and whether she is, in fact, holding a kitten, (I mean, she is, I’m simply being polite). I’ve had a look at a few other pictures and statues. It’s actually pretty rare for them to wear clothes, although they often have a bit of draped material.

Here’s what the Louvre museum thinks:

Eternally young and lovely, they represented charm, beauty, and human creativity, and were depicted naked, originally holding attributes such as apples, roses, and sprigs of myrtle.

From other statues they only seem interested in draping over each other and gazing into each other eyes – which is all very romantic, but not very productive for people who represent creativity. However, the Grace in my picture has defied all their expectations: she’s got dressed, clearly has bigger and more tragic things on her mind than looking pretty and she’s holding a kitten. I think this statue must represent the three Graces once they’ve grown out their frolicking about naked stage. These days Aglaia (Brightness) works in a food bank and plays the drums, Euphrosyne (Joyfulness) volunteers at Samaritans and does chainsaw sculptures, and Thalia (Bloom) is, of course, a gardener who takes in homeless kittens. Which answers all my questions.

12 thoughts on “This is who she is!

  1. Okay, it’s a kitten. But a kitten with eyes as big as an owl’s. Compromise? 😁

    The Three Graces get an irreverent mention in Hannah Gadsby’s stand-up show Douglas which we watched on Netflix recently. If you want an obtuse and scatalogical view of art history she’s your man (as it were) and if you’ve not seen her before — I hadn’t — she’s, well, now officially one of my idols, and she may just possibly become one of yours. Avoid though if rude words offend…

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    1. ooh ooh! I recently saw Douglas, it was ace! I’d forgotten the bit about the three graces, but I was hoping for an excuse to watch it again 😀 I’m glad you liked it too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was really powerful and innovative, although not as entertaining as Douglas – which was of course the point.
        And she’s autistic, I didn’t pick up on that at all. Maybe because she’s a stand up and that doesn’t show interaction.


  2. Woohooooo! Mystery solved. I think she cares for you, because you take care of plants, let foxes play in your home ground and let in lost cats. 🙂 you have a grace watching over you, literally! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  3. She looks so pensive and careworn! Canova’s three graces is the only one I’ve seen, all girlie, semi-naked and whispering to each other (national gallery, edinburgh). It would be nice to think your grace had been sculpted by a woman to be a more likely reality than a frivolous fancy ;>) I’ve got your book on my kindle, it sounds quirky and fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a beautiful thought. It would have been good if one of the classical cultures had a rule that only women could sculpt women. The results would have been far more interesting.
      I hope you enjoy the book! Let me know if so 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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