The Three Graces, 1535
Lucas Cranach the Elder
German (Wittenberg, Weimar), 1472–1553
Oil on wood panel
"The subject of the Three Graces was associated in antiquity with elegance and beauty, and the trio was oftentimes depicted as handmaidens of the goddess Venus. The Graces became popular in the Renaissance with a revival of interest in the ancient world and because of the opportunity they represented to accentuate their natural potential for sensuality. Here, Cranach's nudes illustrate this Renaissance interest, but their slender proportions are Gothic. The figures are highlighted against the dark background making their bodies look more sculptural."