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The Three Graces


Albumen print | 25.9 x 20.0 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 854546

A photograph of the Three Graces, a statue housed in the centre of the Piccolomini Library, which is a Roman copy after a Hellenistic original (4th-2nd century BC). Printed with the photographer's stamp. Not in Ruland (1876).

The statue is documented as having been in the Library from the beginning of the 16th century, but it was moved out under Pope Pius IX in the 19th century because it was considered not appropriate for that location; it was later moved back to its original place, but then moved out again under Mussolini's regime, before finally being returned to the Library in 1974.

The Piccolomini Library, in Siena Cathedral, was painted by Pinturicchio and his workshop (1502-07/08) with the aid of preparatory drawings by Raphael. The decoration of the Piccolomini library was commissioned by Cardinal Francesco Todeschino Piccolomini (later Pope Pius III) in 1502 from Raphael's older Perugian contemporary Pinturicchio. The frescoes illustrate events in the life of Pope Pius II (Enea Silvio Piccolomini), the Cardinal's uncle. Vasari credited Raphael with executing 'some drawings and some cartoons' for the library at the express request of Pinturicchio. Scholarly opinion has been divided over the attribution of preparatory drawings for the frescoes, but at least five drawings convincingly related to the decorative scheme are considered to be by Raphael (see Bibliographic References).
  • Creator(s)

    Paolo Lombardi (1827-90) (photographer)

    After a work associated with Raphael (Urbino 1483-Rome 1520) (artist)

    After a work associated with Bernardino Pinturicchio (c. 1452-1513) (artist)

  • 25.9 x 20.0 cm (sheet of paper)

  • Acquired for the Prince Consort's Raphael Collection (after 1876)

  • Object type(s)
      • visual works
        • photographs
  • Bibliographic reference(s)

    Chapman/Plazzotta/Henry 2004 : Chapman, H, Plazzotta, C, Henry, T. Raphael. From Urbino to Rome. London, 2004

    Joannides 1983 : Joannides, P., 1983. The Drawings of Raphael, with a complete catalogue, Oxford
    nos 56-61

    Other number(s)

    Ruland p. 345 A.I.1a (add)