The marble sculpture ‘The Three Graces’ is from the Borghese Collection, known after Cardinal Scipione Borghese who established the art collection on behalf of his family at the Villa Borghese in Rome. Most of the art pieces of the collection are on display at the Galleria Borghese, and the rest including the sculpture above are at the Louvre Museum, Paris, because of a major sale of classical sculptures made under pressure by the Borghese Family to the Louvre in 1807.
In Greek mythology, ‘The Three Graces’ were the Charites named Aglaea (for Splendor or Beauty), Euphrosyne (Mirth) and Thalia (Good Cheer, Festivities), usually considered daughters of Zeus and Eurynome. Some legends depict them as daughters of Dionysus and Aphrodite or of Helios and the naiad Aegle. The other names of their mother mentioned in legends are Eurydome, Eurymedousa and Euanthe.
Though usually three of them are depicted in art, there are several Charites (sl: Charis) who are goddesses of fertility, beauty, charm and human creativity. The Charites were also associated with the Eleusinian Mysteries and the Greek underworld. The River Cephissus near Delphi was considered sacred to The Three Graces. According to Homer, they were part of the retinue of Aphrodite.
In Roman mythology ‘The Three Graces’ are referred to as the Gratiae, the ‘Graces’. From the times of the ancient Greeks and Romans, they have been a favorite subject of artists and they appear in several works of art, including sculptures, paintings, frescos, and mosaics.