CORDIER, Nicolas
(b. ca. 1567, Saint-Mihiel, d. 1612, Roma)

The Three Graces

Musée du Louvre, Paris

Active as a restorer of antique sculpture, he added heads and hands to the antique marble group of the Three Graces (Paris, Louvre) for Cardinal Scipione Borghese, and at some time between 1607 and 1612 he made up for the same patron polychrome statues of a Moor (black marble and alabaster heightened with gilding; Versailles, Château) and a Gypsy Girl (white and coloured marbles and bronze; Rome, Galleria Borghese), using antique torsos as a base.

The Three Graces are goddesses of vegetation and beauty, companions of the god Apollo. The three nude women, symbols of beauty, the arts and fertility, stand side by side in a lateral composition that is striking in its frontality. The statue may be based on a Greek Hellenistic painting, now lost but reproduced in some Roman frescoes.