The Three Graces by Raphael
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The Three Graces by Raphael

The Santuario

between 1504 and 1505


This painting is the smallest in Chantilly but also the most precious: inspired by an antique marble statue, it is one of the few profane works painted by Raphael (1483-1520). An X-ray of the painting revealed that its composition had been changed by the artist: originally, only one of the three women was holding a golden ball in her hand. This would be a depiction of the Judgement of Paris and the three Greek goddesses: Hera, Athena and Aphrodite. Subsequently, Raphael changed his mind and put an apple in each woman’s hand, making them Hesperidia, who conferred immortality to humans by giving them apples.